Cock fighting has been popular in Kaifeng ever since the Northern Song dynasty. Fans of cock fighting find great pleasure in this game. Most of them like both kungfu and drinking, and have strong sense of brotherhood and strict disciplines. There is a tradition for these fans, that is, “Reason goes ahead of blood relationship”. If someone really likes a cock, it could be given as a present through introduction of friends. But there is also a regulation: this cock could only be raised by the person himself and should not be transferred to others, and it should not mate with other kinds of chicken.
These fans in Kaifeng like cock fighting very much. They treat the cocks so well as if the cocks are their own children. They always pay attention to the living conditions of the cocks. For example, they feed the cocks with the finest forage; every day they lay coal cinders under the chicken cage lest the cocks get ill due to lying on the cement floor. In winter, during the cock fighting season, they will put the cocks into specially-made bags or put in their clothes in order to keep the cocks warm.
The greatest characteristic of cocks in Kaifeng is their purebred. There is a set of strict rules in choosing breeds of cocks. People will bear in mind the mother, father and ancestors of a cock. And mating between close relatives is forbidden. People feed the cocks for “fighting”, so besides the strict standards and requirements in choosing breeds, there are also unique methods in feeding and training.
The cock fighting always takes place on the 2nd of the first lunar month, with other dates not fixed, likely to be held in the second, the third and the fourth lunar months. Generally people will choose the first Sunday of the month as the fighting date. Once the date is set, the place will be the next item to be fixed. The fighting place is called “cock fighting pit” because that lot of land is a bit lower than its surrounding area. The “cock fighting pit” of Kaifeng has been on the square outside the east gate of the “Inner City” in north Kaifeng ever since the end of Qing dynasty.
Nowadays, cock fighting has become a kind of beneficial contest of the society and one of the local entertainments.