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Police guard ceremony to outlaw cruel festival

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Photo: Vice
Photo: Vice

Izamal, Yucatán — It’s official, written and signed in ink on paper. Now, is the 100-year tradition of Kots Kaal Pato really a thing of the past?

City officials and Humane Society International yesterday signed the final agreement to end the notorious and cruel yearly festival forever.

The festival dented the region’s reputation for peace and serenity when it made PETA’s  “14 Worst ‘Festivals’ Still Taking Place Today” as well as an investigative piece in Vice.

“Basically, it’s a day when the whole town puts on their best clothes, gathers around a huge city center scaffolding and then proceed to kill a whole bunch of innocent animals, mostly for the lols,” Vice wrote last year, noting that onlookers were hard pressed to explain the history or significance of the bloody ritual.

Kots Kaal Pato
The signing ceremony was held under tight security. Photo: Facebook

In the ritual, iguanas and opossums were stuffed into piñatas, then beaten with sticks. Later, a duck would be hung from a wooden scaffold and participants would try to grab it. Eventually, the bird’s neck would break and the spectators would be spattered with blood.

The signing of agreement was held nearly two hours late, and under strict security measures. The ceremony opened with a performance of the Ballet Folclórico de la Comuna.

A letter of intent leading to this ceremony was signed last month.

With helmets and shields, 30 police officers guarded the three entrances to the auditorium in Citilcum, the community within Izamal where the tradition was held, following rumors of unhappy citizens. Few members of the public were in attendance.

Celebrities Marco Antonio Regil and Eugenio Derbez taped a message congratulating the community and authorities of Citilcum for this mark of progress.

“Ending this violence makes us a more peaceful country,” said Regil.

“This important achievement ends a cruel practice that had continued for over a hundred years,” said Derbez.

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