The whole idea of cockfighting is pretty horrifying to me, but it is a major part of Dominican culture, some say the biggest sport after baseball. It dates back to before the Spanish arrived and is enjoyed by rich and poor alike. The word for cockerel is gallo in Spanish, the cockfighting ring is a gallera and the man who owns the bird is called a gallero. Plenty of letter G for this post in the A-Z of the Dominican Republic. I did consider calling the post "Dominican men and their cocks" but I thought people searching on Google may end up being disappointed.
The fighting cock apparently originated in India more than 4,500 years ago and is usually a very colourful bird, bred to be aggressive. It takes around 18 months for him to reach maturity, during which time he is completely spoiled by his owner, often living in the house, sleeping in his bed, eating the very best food and treated better than the wife or children. Just like boxers, weight is essential and the feathers on the chest and belly are often removed to give them less weight and more speed so they tend to look a tad odd.
|My husband with the unlucky bird from across the road|
Where I live now, you cannot walk for more than 10 minutes without bumping into men with their cockerels under their arms, or sitting on a plastic chair with their cock on their lap and a bottle of beer in their hand. They take their cockerels everywhere, to the colmado, to the bank or just to visit friends.
A great Dominican tradition.