Cockfighting: a Caribbean tradition
Many amateurs and visitors meet on Tuesday afternoon in a gallodrome in Le François, locally known as Pitt. Located on the heights of the Dartault district, the Pitt Agot perpetuates cockfighting, one of the most typical distractions of the West Indies.
We went to meet Eliane Amory, in her gallodrome, a warm and welcoming space. The very ventilated setting offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Atlantic coast. This Pitt is 8 minutes away from your accommodation "On the Spice Road".
Cockfighting is an age-old practice generally handed down from father to son. Since 1952, Saint-Prix Agot has been "playing cocks" and regularly gathers hundreds of cockerels. His arena was undeniably popular at the time, symbolizing a ritual that energizes the daily life of many descendants. Her very advanced age no longer allowing her to manage the Pitt, it is quite natural that her daughter Eliane took over the reins in 2009. Determined to perpetuate the local activity with dignity, she is working on setting up logistics and regulations that are second to none.
An organization that aims above all not to let the commercial aspect hinder the cultural atmosphere. According to Eliane Amory, "the owners of Pitt must be brought to take on more responsibility, to commit themselves to the interest and respect of ancestral values". The young woman has received a favourable opinion from the Sous-Préfet to work in complete safety in this building, the only one of its kind to be approved in Martinique that is accessible to disabled persons with reduced mobility.
Pit Agot receives enthusiasts from all over the island, from neighbouring regions and elsewhere. Of the 185 gallodromes that Martinique had, today, only 19 are in activity. The François counts two of them with that of Morne Acajou.
The battles are at the heart of the island's economic and social heritage. Sought after and appreciated for their conviviality and the magic that emanates from them, the Pitt's welcome poultry of various categories that offer a show of extraordinary aggressiveness. Upstream, the owners ensure a long and meticulous physical preparation, among other things, the weighing of the cock, the choice of fighters, hygiene, the setting of dewclaws, all essential steps that require a flawless rigour.
Under the agitated glances and gestures of the spectators and a referee always wearing his bell, the fight evolves to the rhythm of emotions full of joy and anger; bets are made on the winner and the stakes are very high. In case of winnings, the punters win double.
In the ranks of the spherical building, shouts of circumstantial jargon comment on the challenges of gamblers from all social categories, from the unemployed to the high-ranking civil servant. The Creole expressions "Môdé kók la! "Bekté'y! " " Rédi'y! " "konyenn'y! " " Pa jwé Epi'y'! " "Ay' tiré'y!" " Alé, pa jwé épi'y! " ... set the scene. Not less than eight fights are possible per encounter.
Finally, the relaxed tasting of succulent dishes, such as the traditional rooster well accompanied by local yam and red beans, is proof of its great success. And at the end of the evening, it is time for the popular tripe and oxtail soups served around dominoes and spicy anecdotes that reconcile, around the same table, the enemies of the day, leaving the arena's tensions and defeats behind.
The different categories of roosters (the plumages are not identical)
- The "ashes" which have white and black feathers (mottled, straw, grey, light...).
- Dark red "big syrup".
- The orange-coloured madras
Reception of the public
- Reception of combatants on Tuesdays from 2:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
- No fight demonstrations on Fridays
- Educational and tourist visits by appointment every day with the possibility of seeing bloodless fights with the protected dewclaws.
- Breakfast on the spot (ti-nain cod, ferocious)
- Lunch on site on Tuesdays, order by appointment, for two people or more
- 10 euros and 15 euros for front row seats
- Open from January to the end of June-July
- Closed from July, when the rooster begins to lose its feathers. From August to October, the feathers grow back, the flesh becomes sensitive, the rooster flees...