Jallikaatu could be referred to as bull taming event typically practiced in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day, third day of the four-day Pongal festival. The term 'Jallikattu' is derived from the Tamil words 'Jalli' and 'kattu'. Jalli refers to gold or silver coins. Kattu means 'tied'. Therefore, combined together it refers to coins being tied to the bulls' horns, which is considered the prize for whoever tames the bull. The bull that wins is used to service numerous cows preserving the native breed. It is renowned as an ancient 'sport', believed to have been practised some 2500 years ago. It is controversial because the sport often results in major injuries and even deaths.
The events were banned in Tamil Nadu in 2014 for two years after India’s Supreme Court found them cruel, acting on petitions by animal rights activists. That sparked protests and eventually new legislation that exempt the event from animal cruelty laws.
If one player can hold on to the bull for three jumps or for 30 seconds or for a distance of 15 meters (49 feet) he’ll have a chance at winning prizes handed out by sponsors such as cooking pots, clothes, bicycles, motorbikes or even a car.