Before every Kok Boru game a goat is killed. Traditionally seven riders come to the house of the game’s host, the man who offers the Ulak (the goat). At his house the riders will perform the Bata, a blessing ceremony which is done before sacrificing the animal. The rhyming words are spoken by one of the riders to thank for the the goat, pray for a fair the game, the health of the riders and horses, their families, the village. It can take from just a few seconds to about ten minutes. Usually the riders have a lot fun doing Bata, but it is also something serious, traditional and cultural.
While one of the riders is cutting the neck of the goat with a knife, the other riders will turn their backs. Blood will drain into a metal bowl. After a quick death, the horned head and the hooves will be cut off to prevent injuries during the game. It would be disrespectful to the animal to play with its head, as every life is a gift from the allmighty. As soon as the Ulak is ready, riders can’t wait to start the game. Arriving at the Maidan (the game field), most likely there will be another short Bata before warming up or before the game starts.
An insight of such performance can be seen right at the beginning of our short documentary film about Kok Boru.
For more pictures please visit the full gallery Kok Boru!