Eruthazhuvuthal aka Jallikattu or Sallikattu
‘Legacy Of Tamils Valour’
Eruthazhuvuthal is a bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebration. It is one of the oldest living ancient sports seen in the modern era. Although it sounds similar to the Spanish running of the bulls, it is different. In Eruthazhuvuthal, the bull is not killed and the ‘matadors’ are not supposed to use any weapon. It is held in the villages of Tamil Nadu as a part of the village festivals held from January to July, every year. The one held in Alanganallur, near Madurai, is one of the more popular events. This sport is also known as “Manju Virattu”, meaning “chasing the bull”.
The term ‘jallikattu,’ comes from Tamil terms ‘salli kaasu’ (coins) and ‘kattu’ (a package) tied to the horns of bulls as prize money. Later, in the colonial period, this term changed to ‘jallikattu.’
Understanding Eruthazhuvuthal is based on the simple concept of “flight or fight”. Cattle are herd and prey animals and run away from dangerous situations, but there are exceptions. Cape buffalos stand up against lions and often kill them. The Indian Gaur bull is known for standing its ground against predators and tigers are wary of attacking a full grown Gaur bull. Aurochs, the ancestors of domestic cattle, were known for their pugnacious nature. Eruthazhuvuthal bulls belong to a few specific breeds of cattle that descended from the kangayam breed of cattle and these cattle are pugnacious by nature. These cattle are reared in large herds numbering in the hundreds, with a few cowherds tending to them. These cattle are for all practical comparisons, wild and only the cowherds can mingle with them without fear of being attacked. It is from these herds that calves with good characteristics and body conformation are selected and reared to become Eruthazhuvuthal bulls. These bulls attack not because they are irritated or agitated or frightened, but because that is their basic nature.
Thanks to Asavaa Medias for the video clip (from 4:33 to 6:40)
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