NEW DELHI, India — Last week, people across India celebrated the coming of spring and the year’s harvest. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, however, celebrations of Pongal — the harvest festival — were tainted with disappointment. Their bulls were banned from participating.
Every Pongal, thousands of men from Tamil Nadu’s villages gather outside a small enclosure called the vadi vassal. From inside the pen, a temple bull is allowed to run through the crowds uninterrupted. Every bull that charges out after that, however, must try to break free from hundreds of men attempting to tame it by grabbing the hump behind its head.