Christmas for most people means celebrating with family and friends, sharing a big meal, and exchanging presents—it’s supposed to be a time of peace and love.
But sometimes, Christmas brings out the worst in people, as they are often over-stressed by the holidays—the kids fight over the presents, Uncle Bob gets drunk and obnoxious as usual, the wife won’t speak to you because you bought her something practical instead of what she really wanted… the whole thing can drive you crazy.
Well, there’s a place in Peru that has found the perfect answer to all of this. It’s called Takanakuy, and it’s a Christmas custom where you do your best to try to punch out your closest friends and relatives.
Every Christmas day, indigenous Peruvians from Chumbivilcas Province celebrate Christmas, not by wrapping up presents, but by wrapping up their fists, and acting like gladiators.
Takanakuy means ‘when the blood is boiling.’
It isn’t only done to get rid of pent up hostilities, it’s also used to settle personal and legal disputes. Whoever wins the fight wins the legal dispute.
In truth, it’s only mildly violent. The matches are highly regulated, and there are clear-cut rules, such as no biting, punching, or kicking when someone is down. There are referees with colorful whips who intervene when someone breaks the rules or to separate the contestants when the winner is announced. There are even police in case things get too out of hand.
Fighters include men, women, and even children, with their parent’s consent. Amateur boxers also join in. The crowds are colorfully dressed in traditional costumes, laughing and cheering, and creating a festive mood.
It’s not all fighting. At the end of the day, everyone celebrates. There’s music, dancing, and lots of local brew. It has become so popular that it has begun to spread to Cuzco and Lima.
Watch the video of this Peruvian Christmas Takanakuy tradition below.
All I can say is Peruvians are one tough people. What to you think of this tradition?