Every Friday as the sun sets down, large crowd, mainly families gather around a metal fence opposite to the Fujairah corniche to watch the traditional arabic bull fight. Most of the audience are families who sit inside next to their car which is parked in front of the fence or camp right outside their car.
Unlike their European counterparts, here there are not much of blood shed, dead bulls, matadors and trophies. It is more of the bulls strength and owners pride. the prize money is not huge so it is more towards the owners pride. But is he decided to sell his winning bull, he stand to gain a huge financial gain.
The scariest part is from time to time, the rampaging bull manages to make a run on the spectators, the only thing left for an audience to do is flee for their cars. Until recently, the lack of fences around the arena added an extra thrill to these occasions!
Owning and maintaining one of these fighting bull is a not an small investment. A good animal can cost from around 25,000 Emirati Dirhams (AED) ($7,000) to 50,000 AED to buy and up to 5,000 AED a month to look after. A lot of that money goes into the bull’s diet, which can include milk, spiced clarified butter, mountain honey and dried fish as well as the more mundane dried grasses.
The fighting has strict rules to prevent blood shed. Bulls are allowed to fight only with the same pedigree, breed or weight. No gouging with horn is allowed and if a bull becomes more aggressive he will be separated.
This tradition is believed to go back to 17th and 18th century and bought over to the land by Portuguese settlers. Bring a desert nation one would wonder why bulls and not camels.