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Takanakuy—the Fighting Festival 2024 in Peru

Any plans for Christmas? What about taking part in a traditional fight in Peru?

Dates: December 25

While in most Western countries Catholic Christmas is about gifts, family reunions, and delicious homemade cakes, in one region of Peru it is about justice through fighting. The Chumbivilcas province is located in the Andes. Either due to the difficulty of reaching any big city with the modern judicial system or because of old traditions, solving problems through violence is a popular activity there. Fortunately, it occurs only once per year and in a very organized manner. On the 25th of December, the Chumbivilcas community gathers for a Takanakuy—an annual celebration aimed to help people solve various personal insults, grudges, and misunderstandings through force.

Takanakuy means "when the blood is boiling" from the local dialect, and the blood not only boils but also runs from broken noses or scratched hands during fights. Anyone can take part, so do not be surprised to see men, women, kids, and even old men as participants. They can punch, kick, and bite each other, but hitting an opponent when he is on the ground is prohibited.

It may sound violent, but Takanakuy isn't actually a cruel event, as hard injuries are rarely reported. If anyone just wants to let the steam out, he or she can join the fight.

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