WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO STAND?
by Ombretta Di Dio
A very controversial but traditional season is about to start in Peru. On November 1st, indeed, the bullfights will attract an incredible amount of tourists and protesters from all over South America for a series of events that will take place in the Acho bullring, just outside of Lima.
This “Spanish styled” activity is definitely not for everybody, the battle will in fact only cease when the animal is dead. The arena of Rímac is the second most ancient one in the world and it opened in 1766, but the present form of this event began in 1946.
A religious celebration, that takes the name of “Señor de los Milagros”, stands behind this festival. During the month of October, right before the beginning of the bullfight season, the streets of Lima become the theater of multiple parades accompanied by music, dances, ringing of ceremonial bells and incense lighting in honor of the protector of the city: The Lord of the Miracles. In order to point out the importance of the Lord of the Miracles in the Peruvian Catholic culture, the winning bullfighters are not only ornate with religious symbols called “escapularios”, but they also receive prizes in gold and silver at the end of the fight.
The anti-bullfighting movement created a very strong symbol to protest against “Señor de los Milagros” as celebrated today: an “anti-bullfighting Christ”, a statue figuring Jesus Christ on the cross stabbed by the same swords and banderillas that kill the bulls.
Which way will you choose to take part in this much discussed celebration?