Why do matadors wave a red cape at the bull?

Maybe it’s because they’re nuts. Isn’t life hard enough? Why go looking for trouble?

The conventional explanation, of course, is that they are trying to provoke the bull to charge, to literally make him see red, the color that drives bulls bonkers. Then the matador can do his thing, showing the bull who’s boss.

The only trouble with this is that bulls don’t know red from your Uncle Herman. Toro is colorblind. It’s the movement of the cape that gets his attention. The color red is really meant to provoke the audience --a hot, blood-like color to work them into frenzy. It’s show biz and it helps fill the arena seats. If the matador can’t do that, he’s really caught on the horns of a dilemma, and that’s no bull.

Source: Ever Wonder Why? By Douglas B. Smith

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