Jallikattu is celebrated on Mattu Pongal, which is the third day of the popular harvest festival. The tradition derives its name from the Tamil words "salli" which means coins and "kattu" which means package. This refers to ta prize of coins that is tied to the horns of the bulls, which participants try to retrieve. Jallikattu will be celebrated on January 15 this year.
A species of bull called the Bos indicus, or humped cattle, is bred specifically for Jallikattu. The bulls that perform well in the event are further used for breeding and also fetch higher prices in the markets.
The Jallikattu festival has seen recent controversy in the country, with the sport being banned by the Supreme Court in 2014. In 2017, the Governor of Tamil Nadu issued a new ordinance that authorized the continuation of Jallikattu events.