Excerpt 3 – A Gringo Guide To: A Bullfight, A Mexican Rodeo, and a Cockfight

24 Apr
Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

A third Excerpt from my, “A Gringo Guide To: A Bullfight, A Mexican Rodeo, and a Cockfight”.

Cockfights: Your Personal Guide

Despite the image and/or aversion you may feel about cockfights, they have been a part of Mexican society from the conquest, a popular diversion for the rich and poor alike. Cockfights were valuable fund-raisers that helped build all the wonderful churches you see in México. The Church and their supporters promoted bullfights, cockfights, and kermeses (Mexican bake sales), and the proceeds went to the church building fund. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?.

We know that cockfights probably originated in ancient Greece, by the depictions found on ancient Hellenic coins. The Greeks be­lieved the birds to be an excellent example for Greek youth, who were expected to defend their country with the same tenacity that the birds exhibited fighting to the death or victory.

Pompeian mosaics show us that the custom was also adopted in Rome. In England the Royal Cockpit was founded, in Spain and the Philippines cockfights became a national pastime and later were imported to the Americas. In all of these venues important sums of money were (and still are) wagered.

The games also became important sources of income, through taxes, for these governments. The first license was issued in México in 1687, to Pedro Ortiz de Espejo, for the sum of $1,700 reales annually. He opened the first Palenque, enclosure for a public spectacle, in Mexico City, and commissioned many others through­out Nueva España.

In 1872, Luis Inclán published an official rule book, Ley de Gallos, consisting of 37 clear and concise articles governing the comportment of owners, spectators, bettors and handlers. The city government of Guadalajara published another official rule book. Soon after, another Reglamento Para el Juego de Gallos, was printed by J.M. Cañedo and Pedro Echaniri, which was reprinted all the way through 1944. These, along with other rule books published in Mexico City, at about the same time, remain in use to this day.

On December 31, 1947 the Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos was passed by the Mexican government expressly forbidding gambling at cockfights. But by application and payment to the Secretaria de Gobernación permits are granted for regional fairs if a percentage of the profits go to charity. In some states, such as Jalisco, cockfight Palenques are permanent, but they must still contribute to charity.

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