November is the time of the year in Lima that many await and lots despise: the Feria Taurina del Señor de los Milagros, the largest bullfight festival in Peru, is held in Lima’s renowned Plaza de Acho.
Here, on 5 consecutive Sundays the world’s best toreros mostly from Spain, Mexico and Peru and young talents face the strongest and most impressive Peruvian bulls.
The topic “bullfighting” is controversial: supporters consider it a cultural heritage or a tradition deserving protection; opponents, however, speak about animal torture and a vicious, bloody "sport". Whatever one’s opinion, in Peru the "Corrida de Toros" is, despite an increasing number of protesters, extremely popular.
After Spain and Mexico, Peru is the third-most important bullfighting country in the world. Peruvian breeders devote a lot of effort and expenditures to raise their bulls and the over 40 purebred herds are looked at with pride.
Peru’s bullfight history in a nutshell
However, bullfighting isn’t an ancient indigenous Peruvian tradition; it was only introduced at the beginning of the 16th century, after the Spaniards conquered the country. According to Ricardo Palma, the famous Peruvian writer, the first bullfight in Peru took place at Lima’s main square in 1538.
From there on, whenever there was a special occasion or something to celebrate, a bullfight was held; first only for the Spanish’s conquerors, but later the indigenous population and African slaves took pleasure in the spectacle as well.
In 1766 the Plaza de Acho, Lima’s impressive bullfight arena, was inaugurated in the district of Rimac. Today the bullring is the oldest in the Americas and after the Real Maestranza in Sevilla and the Coso de la Misercordia in Zaragoza the third-oldest in the world.
Even after Peru’s independence from Spain in 1821 bullfighting remained popular. Quite often bullfight events were combined with local, indigenous festivities and celebrations or Christian processions and saints.
Bullfighting in Peru today
Today over 500 smaller and larger bullfighting events take place throughout the year along the Peruvian coast and in the Andean highlands, often still combined with other festivities or (religious / indigenous) celebrations and usually sold out. For major events celebrated and respected matadors from across the globe come to Peru.
The highlight of the bullfight season in Peru however is surely the so called “Feria Taurina del Señor de los Milagros” held each year in November on five consecutive Sundays in Lima’s renowned bullfighting arena Plaza de Acho.
Find the exact dates and program in our event calendar.