RAKHINE GYOUNG VILLAGE, Dala Township — In this farming community south of Rangoon, oxen serve multiple purposes. When the monsoon rains come, they plow paddy fields, and year-round they draw carts as a means of transportation or for hauling goods. But when they’re not out in the fields or plying Dala Township’s dusty dirt roads, the bovid beasts take on a competitive air.
On Feb. 15, Rakhine Gyoung village in Dala held its annual bullock cart race, with nearly 40 oxen from the host village and nearby joining the contest. Coming just two days after nationwide celebrations of Gen. Aung San’s centennial birthday, the race this year was held under his name to honor Burma’s national hero.
Gambling on which bull would win played an important role in the race. Braving the scorching midday sun, hundreds of men and women flocked to both sides of a nearly 300-meter-long track, with bets fueling the boisterous crowd as the animals approached the finish line.