Chennai, Jan 14: Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, in the simplest of terms, is a sport conducted as part of Mattu Pongal, the third day of the four-day-long harvest festival Pongal. The three main venues where the sport will take place in are Avaniyapuram, Alanganallur and Palamedu.
Here are some interesting facts about the ancient bull taming sport.
The third day of the Pongal festival is to honour and show gratitude towards cattle stock. Elaborate and colourful garlands and bells are tied around the necks of cows before performing the rituals. The popular cattle race Jallikattu takes place on this day.
Preparations started for the conduct of jallikattu
People of Tamil Nadu's Madurai are gearing up to celebrate the traditional bull-taming sport 'Jallikattu'. Health check-up was held for bull catchers in Madurai on January 13. Tamers are very excited to participate in the sport. Jallikattu is the world famous cultural competition of Tamil Nadu which is celebrated on Pongal.
Madurai gears up for Jallikattu
Jallikattu competitions will be held from January 15 - January 31 in Madurai district. Around 730 bulls in Avaniyapuram, 700 bulls in Alanganallur and 650 bulls in Palamedu are participating in Jallikattu competitions this year.
What is Jallikattu?
The practice of Jallikattu, also known as Eruthazhuvuthal or Manju virattu, is traditionally held annually in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on the Mattu Pongal day which is widely known as Makar Sakranti. The term 'Jallikattu' originates from the Tamil words Salli and Kattu, referring to silver or gold coins tied to the bulls' horns.
Tamil Nadu's bull taming tradition:
Jallikattu is believed to have been practiced at least 2,500 years ago, after an ancient cave painting was discovered near Madurai, which depicted a lone man trying to tame a bull.
What is the controversy around Jallikattu?
Animal welfare organisations like PETA India have protested against Jallikattu since 2004, with the Supreme Court banning it in May 2014. This ban was reversed after the Government of India passed an order exempting it from all performances where bulls can not be used. But, the SC upheld the ban on 14 January, leading to protests all over Tamil Nadu.