Jallikattu (Taming the Bull)

As a part of Pongal celebrations on the Mattu Pongal day (the third day of the four day long Pongal festival) Jallikattu is a cattle/bull taming ritual held in different villages of Tamil Nadu. Held from January to July, every year; Jallikattu involves the process of tying gold or silver coins to the horns of the bulls as the prize money. Some of the well-known cattle breeds used for Jallikattu include Kangeyam, Puliyakulam, Palamalai and Alambadi. This ancient sport witnesses participants consisting of native cattle breeders.

The Supreme Court has refused to lift the ban on Tamil Nadu's popular and controversial bull taming sport called Jallikattu. Continuously opposed by the animal right activists, the sport is held for celebrating the winter harvest. By fixing the next hearing for March 2016, the Supreme Court has effectively ruled out confusions revolving the organization of the sport this year.

Jallikattu (Taming the Bull) is celebrated in Madurai in the month of January. It is associated with the Pongal celebrations and is also known as Manju Virattu. This festival of Madurai is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show. Jalikattu is held in an open space, where people of the neighboring villages gather to watch the fighting of the bulls. It is generally held in Alanganallur. Jallikattu is also held in Palemedu, near Madurai.

During this festival, an agitated bull is set free in an open space with several people try to tame the animal. On many instances, more than one bull are also let loose in the field. It is noteworthy that only men are allowed to participate in Jallikattu (Taming the Bull). Women are exempted from participating the festival. The winner of the Jallikattu is given a prize, which is generally tied to the bull's horns. It is interesting to note that the game was initially used by the women of the region to find a suitor. According to the legend, suitable grooms were selected on this occasion.

Last Updated on : January 13, 2016