Takanakuy – Violence for Peace

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Documentary, Travel

Takanakuy (translates to when the blood boils) is an annual festival that is held in Peru, oddly enough, on the 25th of December each year. The purpose of Takanakuy is to resolve grievances and disputes that have been building up throughout the year. These disputes are sorted in perhaps the most masculine way possible. An arena style fighting dome where combatants  are allowed/encouraged to exhume their anger upon the aggressor / victim. Basically, you disguise your identity  using a traditional Peruvian ski mask (which is pretty bloody scary), adorn it with a dead animal of some sort (which makes it more scary) and then just challenge the person you have beef with, expecting to fight them in front of the entire village. Regardless of whether you win or lose, the situation is tempered by the fact that all fights begin and end with a hug. Which is cute.

The logic of this tradition is that by having a sanctioned day of fighting, it may prevent fights during the year. This is critical, as where Takanakuy takes place, the remoteness and lack of support to the area mean productivity on the land is of utmost importance. This time can not be wasted with in fighting amongst the villagers who need to work together to support themselves and their families. However, as these fights have evolved, they have gradually moved away from grievance settlement and have now evolved to become a show of bravery and courage, in addition to the old purpose. With this in mind, children as young as six and men as old as 65 regularly take part to prove they still have the cajones when it counts. At this point I can’t help but mention running of the Bulls, which started for a practical purpose and similarly has evolved into a chest beating man orgy. What is it with men and risking lives? I’d say it’s for fun? But I digress….

In summation, Takanakuy proves that there truly are still some wild places and people on this earth. The remote people of the Andes in Peru are have definitely earned their place amongst them.

Watch a clip of how this goes down. 


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Innovative ventures. Creative pursuits. Writer. Insights Professional. Brand Strategist. Digital Venturist. Social Media Aficionado & Sustainability enthusiast. www.harrithomas.com/

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