Pacu Jawi

Traditional Indonesian cow race

In the remote villages on Sumatra island, locals have their own and very unique way to celebrate the rice harvest season.  Rice is a very important plant around the whole of Indonesia and the Asian continent. They hold a muddy cow race to celebrate this season. In the local language this race is called “Pacu Jawi”. This is a tradition that has been around for hundreds of years.

These races occur in muddy rice fields once the rice has been harvested. The affair is a highly emotional, adrenaline packed event in which strong and fearless local village men cling on to the tails of cows whilst they drag and race them along through the muddy fields.  To encourage the cattle to run faster competitors also bite their tails.  A benefit of these races are that they are used as a way to plough the land for the next planting season.  The race is also an opportunity for owners to showcase their cattle to attract potential new buyers, depending on a cow’s performance within the race its value can increase or decrease.