Jallikattu festival is very famous in the region of Tamil Nadu. It is considered to be one of the most significant one among all their cultural events. It is considered to be a part of the very famous festival ‘Pongal’ and is conducted on the day of ‘Mattu Pongal’. It is also known as ‘Yeru Thazhuvuthal’ which means bull embracing. The name Jallikattu means a ‘prize of coins’. This small pouch of coins is tied onto the horns of the bull which the people competing try to gain. In this ritual, a bull is released into a crowd of people. It seems like a very brutal and cruel ritual but people are quite sensitive regarding this festival being questioned.
It was basically started by the ancient people of Tamil Nadu known as Aayars. They used to stay in the ‘Mullai’ region of Tamil Nadu. It belongs back to quite a long time and has evidence belonging to the Indus valley civilization as well.
A bull is first released to a crowd of people standing all ready to show their powers. Many men try to get hold of the hump of the running bull and hang onto it while the bull tries to escape. The main aim of this ritualistic competition is that the running and enraged bull should be brought to a stop by his back humps. So, the people playing hang on to the hump as long as possible and try to stop it. In some cases to add more fascination, things like collecting flags or strips of cloth are also added. The most interesting fact of all: This particular breed of bulls is specifically bred by the people of the village for the event. The bulls which happen to be successful in participating in the event are considered to be the precious ones and hence come at a higher price.
Rules Of The Game
· The Bull is released to the field through the entry gate called ‘ Vadivasal’.
· The participant should try to ‘catch’ the bull by holding onto its hump only.
· The bull-tamer should hold onto the bull till it crosses the ‘finish’ line.
· If the bull throws the participant off before the line or if no-one manages to hold on to the bull, then the bull will be declared victorious.
· Else the participant is declared to be the winner.
· Only one participant is allowed to hold on to the bull at one time.
· No bull tamer can hit or hurt the bull in any manner.
The Tamilians consider this festival to be their pride and want it to continue for years to come. The Jallikattu protests are fuelled by the view that the ban impinges on the cultural identity of the people. They claim that no kind of violence is done in conducting this ritual.
Certain welfare organizations like PETA challenged its existence. But on request of the Tamil Nadu Government, the central government lifted the ban.
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