Jallikattu is a famous festival that is played across Tamil Nadu. This dangerous sport is part of Pongal celebrations in the southern state and is played with much enthusiasm. Find out the significance, rituals and history of this daring sport.
Celebrated across the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India, Jallikattu is a sport that performed is during the four-day festival of Pongal. Pongal is also referred to as the winter harvest festival that is widely popular in the southern state of India.
Jallikattu has been taking place in the month of January for over 2000 years now and it has been recorded as Eruthazhuvuthal in ancient literature called ‘embracing the bull’.
It is said to date back to the 3rd century during the reign of Pandyas before even Spain’s bullfight had evolved. It was started as a ceremony to choose a bridegroom and the successful tamer would get to marry the maiden. It takes place on the third day of Pongal as people offer their prayers to the bulls, cows and other farm animals followed by this sport. It is believed that if locals do not participate in the sport, it will displease the local deities.
Similar to bullfights in Spain, in this festival the bulls are not killed and the fighters or participants are unarmed. It involves a bull that is left alone in an arena full of young participants who try to tame the bull with their bare hands, completely unarmed.
However, this year’s Jallikattu might make an impact with a mix of pandemic and politics. The participants will have to wear a mask and there will be new rules in place for the bulls.
The number of participants will be restricted and the bulls will have no more than two caretakers. With the elections in Tamil Nadu being just four months away, the event might get political with different agendas.
This daring sport requires the participants to tame the bull by holding its horns, the hump or the tail. If you don’t move along the animal then you might get injured. The term jallikattu comes from Tamil terms ‘salli kaasu’ which means coins and kattu means a package tied to the horns of the bull as prize money.
This year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the sport is definitely going to be a spectacle to witness.
Your comment has been submitted to the moderation queue