2,000 sheep march through Madrid streets in Spain

October 9th, 2013 by

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Traditions can hold a family or a culture together. The very things that bring us together year after year, can end up defining a group of people or a culture. Keeping up with traditions can not only be fun, but can also be a rewarding experience. Whether your tradition is to buy and pay for a friends birthday dinner every year, or to visit the same pumpkin farm with your family every fall – traditions can connect people in ways that nothing else can. One tradition in Spain that took place this past Sunday was meant to serve the purpose of both keeping with the old, and bringing awareness to the old.

In Madrid, Spain this past weekend, 2,000 sheep were lead through the urban streets of the city by shepherds in a show of defense for droving, grazing, and migration rights. The group that guided the sheep through the streets were wanting to bring attention to the threat this time-honored-tradition is put under with the expansion of the city and urban sprawl.  The shepherds pay 25 Maravedis, or Spanish coins minted in the 11th Century, to the city in order to use the crossing that was once open fields and forest. Aside from the busy city streets changing the way animals are herded from one location to another, is that transportation itself is making it easier and more efficient to transfer animals in trucks and trains.

The movement to bring awareness to the changing climate towards sheep herding is called Transhumance, and can involve up to one million animals each year. While this tradition continues to try and shed light on the effects of urban sprawl, we wonder if the movement will ever be able to force change?