An ancient sport called “Embracing the Bull” has now been redefined as Jallikkatu, in which Bulls play an important role. To earmark the harvest season and as a thanks giving ceremony to the bulls which have been an essential companion of any farmer, Jallikkattu is being celebrated. This has been in practice for more than 1500years as mentioned in the Tamil literatures.
Jallikkattu is normally celebrated during the Pongal festival during January or the Tamil month Thai. The third day of the four days festival is called as Maattu Pongal. The bulls are decorated with flowers and special poojas are done for them. Farmers thank the bull for a good harvest and also pray to them for the ensuing season with better yield.
There have been several variants in conducting Jallikkattu. Though the Pongal or Makarasankaranthi festival is celebrated across the country, Jallikkattu is an iconic festival of Tamil Nadu. people assemble at a common place where the bulls are let out one by one. The participating bull should be embraced by a man holding its hump for a specific amount of time. To encourage more participation, prizes are tied to the horns of the bull and those who are taming the bull will be rewarded with the prize.
Since the ancient times, this sport of “Embracing the Bull” has been considered as a sign of bravery. The space or the ground where the bulls are let out one by one is called as “Vaadi” and the barricade through which the bulls are coming out is called as “Vaadi Vasal”. In almost all the instances, few of the bulls or the participants get injured or die which is the saddest part of this sport.
Still, celebrating Jallikkattu is a religious ritual blended in the culture and lifestyle of the Tamil society whose evidences can be seen in the ancient literatures and the sculptures in the temples and monuments across the state.
Come and be a part of the celebrations happening at the Vaadivasal on the day of “Jallikkattu”.