Catalans waved goodbye to a part of their cultural tradition after the last bullfight took place Sunday at La Monumental bullring in Central Barcelona.

The event marked both the end of the 2011 season and the end of an era of bullfighting in the area. Spain's northeastern region recently banned bullfighting after pressure from animal rights activists.

The last fight sold out with approximately 20,000 fans in the stands to watch six half-ton bulls be killed by top matadors including the famed José Tomás, Juan Mora, and Serafin Marin.

Marin, a Barcelona local, was the last to kill as fans rushed into the arena to collect pieces of dirt, posters and other memorabilia.

Many fans, including Marin, believe the ban is a symbol of Catalan Nationalists, who want to separate from Spain.

The parliament has prohibited bullfights because it is a 'Spanish fiesta' -- the ultimate symbol of Spanish nationalism, Marin told The Telegraph.

For a city like Barcelona to close this arena is like throwing a Picasso painting into the garbage, Cristobal, a 68-year-old fan, told the AFP. 

While fans mourned the loss, animal activists celebrated their victory to end the unnecessary killing of bulls. Catalonia's regional parliament voted on the ban in 2010 after animal activist group Prou! (Enough in Catalan) collected about 180,000 signatures to bring the issue to parliament. The group continues to fight for animal rights, and many activists and fans clashed outside of the ring on the final day.

We have won a battle but not the war. We will continue to work for animal rights in Spain, Catalonia and elsewhere, Helena Escodn, a member of the activist group, told ARP.

Have a look at images from the final event below: