Bullfighting has enthralled audiences since centuries with a blend of athleticism as well as excitement. According to historians, the tradition of bullfighting originated in Spain somewhere during the 1st century. And though the suffering and killing of the bulls has been a topic of debate among the animal rights activists today, the sport still continues to be an indelible part of the Spanish culture. In fact, several people flock by every year to watch a bullfighter wave a red color cape before the bull, who seems to have lost his temper seeing the red cape, and comes charging towards it.
Why does the red color make the bulls angry?
The bullfighters, who are also called matadors, started using a small red color cape, known as muleta, during bullfighting in the 18th century. And since then, people seem to have the misconceived notion that the colour red makes bulls angry because of which they charge. However, the truth is, bulls actually don’t hate red color nor do they care about what the color of the cape is. They are, in fact, color blind to red color, just like other cattle.
Why do they still come charging at the red color cape the bullfighter waves?
A test conducted by popular TV show, Myth busters in one of their episodes, suggests that the bulls likely get irritated not because of the color of muleta, but by the movement of the muleta as the matador waves it.
Their tests revealed that the reaction of bulls to blue capes and white capes was the same as that to red color capes. To top it all, the test further showed that the bulls showed interest and charged with equal fury towards these three different coloured capes only when they were waved. As such, the test proves that the bulls would charge at any moving muleta, regardless of what color it is.
So then, why are red muletas used?
Well, the reason behind the use of a red color muleta is majorly associated with the audience. To start with, the red capes and ornate costumes are considered a significant share of the tradition and culture of bullfighting. Just like how the sports teams wear the same color uniforms always, the red color muletas are considered as a bullfighting uniform.
Besides this, there is also a practical reason for using the color red. The red color muleta also helps to cover the blood of the bull that has been killed by the matador in the end.
As such, the old myth that color red causes the bulls to attack should be tossed out of the ring.