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Extravaganza of wine festival in Cyprus kick-starts

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credit: altcyprus.wordpress.com
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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

The annual wine festival in Cyprus kick-started with high spirits on Thursday night in the southern city of Limassol. The Limassol Wine Festival is a tradition since Cyprus became an independent state; held in the last week of August and the first week of September each year, just ahead of the grape picking season.

Marking the 54th anniversary of the celebration, the event  promotes local varieties of wines and grapes, which are unique and receive strong reputation worldwide. This time the festival is also featuring ‘Commandaria‘, a Cyprot sweet wine which is also known as the oldest wine in the world.

The mayor of Limassol Andreas Christou told, “We are expecting about 80,000 to 100,000 people, Cypriots and foreign tourists, to attend the festival in the next 10 days.” He insisted visitors to enjoy the best Cypriot wines, food, and a lot of other traditional cultural activities in the festival.

credit: www.nightowl.blog.com
credit: www.nightowl.blog.com

The four big wineries based in Limassol offer free wine to thousands of visitors for trying. Makeshift restaurants inside the city’s sea-side Municipal Garden offers assortment of local specialities at low prices. Visitors are welcomed at the site of the festival by an oversized figure, the Vraka Man, dressed in the traditional Cypriot baggy trousers–the vraka–and his motto: “Drink wine for better life”, meaning to be healthy and alive.

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation provides free bus transportation for tourists and locals from other cities in the island-wide event. Its organizers advertise it as a wonderful event to mark the end of the summer and the transition to autumn. But it is also meant to draw attention to the history of wine production in Cyprus. Various historical references confirm that wine has been produced in Cyprus for over 4,000 years.

With barrel upon barrel of wine distributed freely to the visitors it does not take long for outsiders to get entranced by the “spirits” of the city.

With Inputs from IANS

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All You Need to Know About the Sport of Jallikattu

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants

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banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu. Wikimedia

By Ruchika Verma

  • Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil sport
  • The sport involves bulls and humans, the latter trying to control the former
  • The sport was banned in 2014, which created lots of controversies

Jallikattu or Sallikkattu, also known as ‘eru thazhuvuthal’ and ‘manju virattu’ traditionally, was in news last year, around this time due to the ban imposed on it by the Supreme Court. The ban was much hyped and gathered a plethora of media’s attention.

Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons
Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons

Jallikattu ban has also garnered lots of political attention due to the involvement of Tamil Nadu and Central governments. The issue is much hyped due to the political context involved in it too.

What exactly is Jallikattu? 

Jallikattu is a traditional sport and spectacle in which bulls of the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds are released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to control the bulls while they try to escape.

Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr
Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr

Jallikattu is practised in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The districts, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem are the most famous for conducting Jallikattu. The game dates back to Tamil classical period, which went back to 400 BC. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature described the practice as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ which literally means “bull embracing.” With time the sport has become synonymous with valour and bravery.

Also Read: Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu with a New Law

What happens in Jallikattu and how?

The bulls participating in the game are all lined up behind a narrow gate and released one by one into the arena. The participants have to either control the bull by holding its hump or clutch away from a flag attached to the horns. Owners of the bulls often announce prizes for the man who gets the hold of their bull.

The objective of the game is not to kill or overpower the bull, but to hold onto their hump for a certain amount of time or distance.

The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com
The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com

There are three variants to the game. First, when the bulls are released from an enclosed area. Second, when the bull is directly released into the open ground. And third, when the bull is tied to a rope as the only restriction, and a team of 7-9 members has to untie the prize from the bull’s horns in 30 minutes of the time period.

The gate through which bulls enter the arena is called Vadi Vasai. The bulls charge at the men standing most near to the gate. One of the rules also says that a participant is only allowed to hold bull’s hump and no other body part. The other rules vary from region to region.

Also Read: Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sport, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

In 2014, The Supreme Court banned the sport, endorsing the activists’ concerns according to which, Jallikattu is not only cruelty towards the animal, but also poses a threat to humans. According to the data provided, between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and approximately 1000 were injured during Jallikatu.

The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.
The Jallikattu ban was protested by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lot of protests. Many Tamil communities called this ban a violation of their culture and tradition.

In 2017, many lawyers plead to remove the ban which was rejected by the court. After requests and arguments of Tamil communities, central government reversed the ban, however, after Supreme Court struck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.