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Maramadi – The Famous Bull Race of Kerala

The most famous traditional game involving bulls is Spanish bullfighting, but the people of Kerala, India, have come up with a way celebration that doesn’t involve torturing and killing poor animals. It’s called Maramadi, and it’s held every year, in the post-harvest season.

Maramadi is essentially a bull racing event, only instead of a track, it takes place in flooded rice fields, which makes it infinitely more entertaining for the crowds watching from the sidelines. In preparation for the event, the freshly ploughed fields are filled with water, thus ensuring that every competing team makes a big splash for the audience. Although bulls are the main competitors in Maramadi, their human masters have the important role of guiding them during the race, making sure they don’t stray off the course before reaching the finish line. Each team consists of two bull and three guides, who have to keep up with the animals if they want a shot at wining. That of course takes good speed perfect balance.

Photo © freebird

Around 30 teams compete in traditional Maramadi bull races, which usually last from noon to sundown. The crowd play an important role, as they cheer each team as they splash through the muddy waters, applauding their efforts whether they make it to the finish line or fall face down in the mud. Bulls are bred and raised specifically for the purpose of running in Maramadi competitions. They are well fed and groomed, and on the big day they are dressed in bright colors and have their horns painted.

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The most famous of all Maramadi races in Kerala is held in Anandapali village, located in the Pathnamthitta District of the Indian state. It takes place every year, around August 15.

 Photo via Facebook

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