Jalikattu is Tamil youths’ test of manhood

January 19th, 2009 - 12:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Penang (Malaysia), Jan 19 (IANS) Tamil youths here flaunted their sporty prowess performing Jalikattu, the bull-fight, at the 100th annual Pongal festival, a media report said Monday. “It was a test of manhood for young men,” The Star newspaper said.

Jalikattu is performed at the end of the harvest festival, when the Tamil community gathers to give thanks for the year’s prosperity and prove their worth through a series of daring competitions.

Groups of youths face off with bulls, weighing over 400 kg, in an effort to yank off garlands from their horns.

Each garland containing RM100 (about $30) is to be shared among the successful group of bull chasers.

A bulk of Malaysia’s two million-plus Indian diaspora are Tamil Hindus who celebrate the harvest festival annually.

There are other sports too.

Valuku Maram or grease pole climbing proved to be a more daunting challenge as young men supported each other to reach the top of a 9.8-metre pole.

The reward? RM1,000 in cash.

Kampung Buah Pala residents’ association chairman M. Sugumaran, 54, said it was a double celebration for the community as they had recently won a court case related to the village land.

“We are are talking to the state government, to hopefully declare this village a heritage village,” he said.

On Nov 10 last year, the high court dismissed an appeal by a cooperative and developer of an apartment project for possession of a piece of land occupied by the cattle rearers in the village.

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