10 Indian Festivals and Rituals Involving Animals You Didn’t Know About!

India is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Small rituals and localized customs contribute hugely to India’s diverse nature, and change every couple of miles. Animals have been a part of Indian civilization from time immemorial and usually, each of our celebrations involves animals either directly or indirectly. While some of the old rituals may not be practised, some others have stood the test of time, and are just as popular as they used to be. With that, we look at 10 Indian festivals and rituals involving animals.

1. Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu
If you thought bull fights were unique only to Spain, you couldn’t be more wrong. During Jallikattu, a bull of Kangayam breed is released amongst a crowd of people who try to get hold and hang to the large hump of the bull on Mattu Pongal day.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

2. Dhirio, Goa
Dhirio is a Goan ritual that involves bull fights which include sharpening of horns and squeezing the testicles of the bulls to shoot up the aggression. While these bull fights were banned by the government back in 1998, illegal bull fights aren’t exactly uncommon.

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

3. Kambala, Karnataka
Traditional annual races between buffaloes are a source of entertainment for the rural population where whips are used to make the buffaloes run faster. It is usually sponsored by local landlords and is especially popular in the areas of Udupi in Karnataka and Kasaragod in Kerala.

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

4. Cow Trampling, Madhya Pradesh
It is no secret that Indians are especially precious about their cows, as cows are considered sacred in Hinduism. The Ekadashi after Diwali sees fathers and husbands of Badnagar lined up on the streets only to get trampled by running cows for good luck.

Source: Pixabay

5. Fox Darshan, Tamil Nadu
Males of many villages in Salem capture a fox in the forest and showcase it to the villagers as part of the Pongal rituals.

Source: Flickr

6. Bulbul Soraai Juj, Assam
The Hayagriva Madhava temple on the occasion of Bhogali Bihu witnesses Bulbul fights, bulbuls for which are captured and reared days in advance.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Cock Fight, Andhra Pradesh
The Cock fight is one of the favorite sports of people of coastal Andhra Pradesh. Knockout fights to the death are typical in the region. Despite being illegal, cockfighting continues to be a thriving bloodsport in many parts of India.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. Bullock Cart Race, Maharashtra
Bullock Cart races are organised as a part of Ganesh Chaturthi wherein the bulls taking part are often subjected to cruel practices involving whips and drugs.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

9. Frog weddings, Assam
Farmers of Rongdoi Village in Jorhat in an effort to please the rain God organize marriages of wild frogs. Now that’s a sight most of us would have never expected to witness!

Source: Pixabay

10. Stone dragging by Bulls, Andhra Pradesh
On Mahashivratri, in honour of Shiva’s bull Nandi , pairs of bulls are made to drag stones weighing up to three and a half tonnes.

That’s all for Indian rituals involving animals, of course only a tiny part of the multicultural behemoth that is the Indian experience. There’s much more to India than its rituals and customs, and one can only learn the true essence of India by actually coming here.

You might also like
Share via