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Cricket fighting

Cricket fighting

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Cricket fighting is a blood sport
Blood sport
Bloodsport or blood sport is any sport or entertainment that involves violence against animals.Bloodsport includes coursing or beagling, combat sports such as cockfighting and dog fighting, or other activities...

 involving the fighting of male crickets
Cricket (insect)
Crickets, family Gryllidae , are insects somewhat related to grasshoppers, and more closely related to katydids or bush crickets . They have somewhat flattened bodies and long antennae. There are about 900 species of crickets...

. Unlike most blood sports such as bullfighting
Bullfighting
Bullfighting is a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, southern France and some Latin American countries , in which one or more bulls are baited in a bullring for sport and entertainment...

 and cockfighting, however, cricket fighting rarely causes injuries to the animals. It is a popular pastime in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and dates back more than 1,000 years to the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

.

History


Cricket fighting was nurtured by Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 emperors more than 1,000 years ago, and later popularized by commoners. In the 13th century, the Southern Song Dynasty prime minister Jia Sidao
Jia Sidao
Jia Sidao was a chancellor during the late Song Dynasty of China. He dominated the Song court from 1260 to 1273, after rising to the rank of chancellor due to his sister being a concubine of the Emperor Lizong...

 wrote a how-to guide for the blood sport. Jia's obsession with cricket fighting is believed to have contributed to the fall of the empire. During the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

 (1966-1976) China's Communist government banned cricket fighting as a bourgeois predilection, but it is now undergoing a revival among a younger generation eager to embrace genuinely Chinese pastimes.

Culture



Many famous hotels around Macau hold cricket fights where bets up to thousands of patacas
Macanese pataca
The pataca is the currency of Macau. It is subdivided into 100 avos , with 10 avos called ho in Cantonese. The abbreviation MOP$ is commonly used....

 would be waged on a single fight. Prized crickets become famous and actual funeral services would be held for them.

Cricket season begins in summer and championships take place after the autumn equinox in late September. In Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, the Association for Cricket Fighting organizes cricket fighting events and championships.

While it is illegal in China to gamble on cricket fights, the fights themselves are legal and occur in most big cities in China. Crickets are sold openly in street markets, with more than a dozen cricket markets in Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

 alone. In 2010 more than 400 million yuan (US$63 million) were spent in China on crickets.

Care and breeding


The best crickets are from a few counties in northeastern Shandong Province. Crickets have pedigrees and would be carefully bred by knowledgeable keepers. Each cricket must be kept in its own clay pot and their diets include ground shrimp, red beans, goat liver, and maggots. Before fight night, female crickets are dropped in the pot to amp up the male's fighting spirit.

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