Peru Holds Festival Where People Reconcile by Fist Fighting

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On Christmas Day, some Peruvians were taking part in a tradition that differs greatly from exchanging gifts and kind words. The established Takanakuy fighting festival was held on December 25th in the province of Chumbivilcas, and despite the encouraged violence, it promotes renewed friendships.

During this unique festival, spectators form a wide circle around duels between two men that are meant to settle old scores and allow them to start fresh in the new year. Even the mayor shows up at the well-attended event. According to ABC, “Takanakuy combines the native words ‘takay’, meaning fight and ‘nakuy’, meaning mutual.” The goal is to create a festive atmosphere filled with music and aggression turning into friendship. Some will battle over personal grievances, others over financial and legal issues.

Judging from footage on YouTube, it looks like anything goes when it comes to the fights where participants use wildly swinging fists and kicks. But no weapons can be used, and it appears that more often than not, the punches probably don’t land on the other person. A referee steps in before things get too out of hand and judges determine the victor. In most cases, the fights end with a hug.