Bullfighting is one of the most popular and controversial customs in Spain. People flock by the thousands to see a bullfighter (matador) wave his red cape (muleta) in front of a snorting bull, who appears to see the red cape and charge angrily towards it.
Why does the color red make bulls so angry?
We’ve always been told not to stand in front of a bull when wearing a red dress, or something along those lines, so what is it about the color red that makes bulls so angry? Let’s find out.
Surprise, surprise! Bulls are actually color blind for red and green. Bulls, just like other cattle, can’t differentiate between red and green colors. But that makes no sense, why does a bull lose its temper and come charging at a matador like it wants to shove him through a wall?
It’s not the color, but rather the movement of the cape that makes bulls so angry. Moreover, the bulls used in bullfights are from a very aggressive breed and they’re raised in a way that any sudden movements will make these bulls angry and make them attack.
If the cape being used were of any other color, the bull will charge at it. Therefore, if a bullfighter is dressed in red and is standing still and another bullfighter dressed in any other color (even white) begins moving in front of the bull, the bull will attack the bullfighter in white – the one who is moving.
So why is the color red used in bullfights?
A red-colored cape is used purely as a matter of tradition. In fact, there are three stages in bullfighting and the red cape is only used in the last stage. Also, the red color of the cape helps mask the blood of the bull as it is fended off by the matador.