Fowl play at Mardi Gras

Dozens of revellers versus one squawking chicken - that is the mad scramble that forms the highlight of Courir de Mardi Gras in Eunice, Louisiana.

The annual event is an offbeat Cajun take on Mardi Gras. Revellers dressed in tattered, homemade fringe-and-calico rags go house to house dancing, drinking and collecting ingredients for a big pot of gumbo - such as this poor chicken that was trying to fly the coop.

The hosts do not always make it easy for the revellers, anthropology professor Ray Brassieur of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette told the US National Public Radio.

They may get up on the roof or, in this case, release the chicken from the top of a greased pole.

Then comes the chasing. Louisiana native Guy Martin Plauche Wenzel said: "It reverts you back to a more primitive state, where you have to run after your food."

These days, though, the chicken chase is mostly for entertainment. Cooks stay behind to prepare the gumbo while the hunting party makes its rounds.

By the time the sun sets, the revellers are spent and ready to welcome the quiet of Ash Wednesday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2018, with the headline 'Fowl play at Mardi Gras'. Print Edition | Subscribe