There is a famous ‘running of the bulls’ festival in Spain where people get chased by an angry bull, here in Maharashtra there is a different kind of bull festival. It’s Pola today, this involves worshiping the hard working bulls; farmers give their bulls a bath, decorate them with flowers and jewellery and I’d like to think they treat them with extra kindness. This festival is mainly celebrated in villages, but the festivities have crept into Nagpur.
Small children are given wooden bulls with wheels to play with, friends gather together and race each other, pulling their bulls along behind them on a string. My husband proudly told me that as a child, he would usually win. I expect his extremely long legs gave him somewhat of an advantage. The little boys who live upstairs paid us a visit to show us their toy bulls, which they had lovingly decorated with ribbons, garlands and shells.
Some of Alfonso’s favourite friends own a shop near our house, whenever we walk past he has to go in for cuddles, the husband, wife and two very small boys are always all smiles. This lovely family have been sitting outside their shop building lots of wooden bulls for several days now, they are very sweet. I would have bought one for my little boy, Alfonso, but I think he would just chew it up. I guess I will have to wait to have human children.
These majestic bulls have been pulling carts, ploughing fields and sowing crops for thousands of years, they are the life line of farmers and definitely deserve worshiping. The farmers of India haven’t had a good year so far due to the unusual weather, rains in summer and a dry monsoon, so I hope this festival lifts their spirits.