Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

You Can’t Visit Fujairah Without Watching World Famous Bull Butting

Ben Smith read the articles on this site about bull butting and asked whether this sport was still playing during the summer months.

Yes, this bovine experience doesn’t stop for 45C degree heat as it is an historic Fujairah institution every Friday.

I asked Ben to share some reflections and he kindly put together this story and provided the excellent photographs:

Ben Smith Reporting
“A couple of weeks ago, a small group of us made a trip to the Fujeirah corniche to watch the bloodless local sporting attraction of bull butting. It was a great and interesting day out.”

“The bull butting arena was easy enough to find (if you are heading North from Kalba it is on the left, just before you get to Fujeirah town and next to the Maria cafe).”

“Quite a crowd had gathered by about 5pm, with hundreds of locals and workers gathering all around the arena. The local popcorn, Sprite and candyfloss vendors had a roaring trade. It was a male dominated crowd, and the few women who came along seemed to sit in their cars and watch through the blacked out windscreens of their Land Cruisers.”

“The bulls were tethered to posts around the arena and every ten minutes or so two were brought, often reluctantly, by their handlers into the centre of the arena. Some of the bulls had better things to do than charge at other bulls and were quite happy to mooch around not doing a lot. But others quickly got involved in horn grappling battles. The eager Arabic commentary added to the excitement (and confusion; we left none the wiser as to the rules or how the winner is determined).”

“A few of the more eager fans were bonkers enough to sit in the arena itself; every now and again a wayward bull would hurtle away from the centre of the arena and towards the crowd, who would jump and run off in every direction!”

“It was far less cruel and violent than the Spanish version of the sport.”

Many thanks, Ben, for sharing the magic and the mystery of Fujairah’s free entertainment. Only a year ago there were no fences around the arena and bulls would frequently stampede through the crowd and add to the drama.

Visit Fujairah to Watch Bull Butting, Fujairah in Focus, 23 September 2008.
The photo that appeared in Boston’s Big Picture, 23 November 2008.
Bull Butting in Fujairah.

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In the News
Experiencing the Emirates featured this week in Dubai's Gulf News re this article.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff Pound can be contacted at geoffpound(at)gmail.com or Facebook.

Image: The bulls, the handlers and the ice cream vendor.

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