Bullfighting and horsemanship: Cultural World Heritage

By Jade Arroyo

The bullfight (fiesta brava) and charrería (horsemanship arts) were declared by the state government to be an Intangible World Heritage of the state of Guanajuato. This initiative was promoted by the taurine associations from León and Irapuato, the National Association of Bullfighters, the Associations of Bull Breeders of Lidia, and the Mexican Union of Subalterns, among other equine and taurine associations.

The decree declaring the cultural, historical, social, economic and ecological character of bullfighting and horsemanship culture was signed by the state governor, Miguel Márquez Márques,

“The fiesta brava and charrería have been around throughout the history of Guanjuato, and that is why they are being designated as Intangible World Heritage, according to the Law of the Cultural Heritage of Guanjuato,” expressed a press release issued by the state government. A special committee will be in charge of identifying, documenting, investigating, preserving, promoting, and disseminating bullfighting culture, the press release added.

Guanajuato is the birthplace of many Mexican traditions. The state has 32 cattle ranches, making it the second-largest ranching state in the country. Four other states, Aguascalientes, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo and Querétaro, have already sought to preserve their traditions of bullfighting and charrería.

Bullfighting and horse culture in San Miguel

Bullfighting and charrería have been part of this area’s folklore, traditions, and history for almost 500 years, and they benefit the state economically through tourism, employment and income. Congressman Oscar Arroyo has stated, “I believe it was right to name this tradition and sport part of our cultural heritage. The fiesta charra is the national sport par excellence. It’s part of our roots and our identity as Mexicans.”

Opposition to bullfighting

The tradition of the fiesta brava, of course, has its detractors, and many around the world are opposed to the practice. Concerning the opposition to bullfighting, Oscar Arroyo expressed his respect for the diversity of opinions but said that it is not convenient to prohibit these practices, because they are highly beneficial for the economy. He remarked that he must respect the will of the majority, and currently most of the population supports taurine and equine culture. “Perhaps in the future the culture of the Mexicans will turn in another direction and we will legislate against it; we don’t know how public opinion will evolve, but currently a prohibition is not applicable yet,” said Arroyo.

Here in the center of the country the cultural value of bullfighting is being upheld, but in the state of Sonora, in the north, the Congress passed a law defending animals and prohibiting bullfighting. The law does not prohibit cockfights, charreadas or jaripeos (rodeos) but stipulates that such events must follow prescribed rules. Sonora is the first state to outlaw bullfighting in Mexico.

Fiesta Charra y Fiesta Brava: Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad

Por Jade Arroyo


Las corridas de toros y los eventos de la tradicional charrería fueron declarados por el gobierno del estado como Patrimonio Cultural Intangible del Estado de Guanajuato.

Esta iniciativa fue impulsada y promovida por los Centros Taurinos de León e Irapuato, la Asociación Nacional de Matadores, la Asociación de Criadores de Toros de Lidia, la Unión Mexicana de Subalternos, entre otras instituciones charras y taurinas.

El decreto, firmado por el gobernador Miguel Márquez Márquez, declara el carácter cultural, histórico, social, económico y ecológico de la llamada fiesta brava y de la charrería.

“La fiesta brava y la charrería han estado presentes a lo largo de la historia de Guanajuato, por ello se constituyen como Patrimonio Intangible de acuerdo con la Ley del Patrimonio Cultural de Guanajuato”, señaló el gobierno estatal en un comunicado.

Un comité especial tendrá a su cargo la identificación, documentación, investigación, preservación, protección, promoción, valoración y transmisión de la tauromaquia, agregó el boletín. El territorio guanajuatense ha sido y es asiento de innumerables tradiciones, además de contar con 32 ganaderías, transformándolo así, en una fuente insustituible de trabajo y de economía por ser el segundo estado a nivel nacional en este campo. Guanajuato es el quinto estado del país en proteger y cuidar estas dos actividades, junto a Aguascalientes, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo y Querétaro.

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