FEEL THE THRILL IN SANTO TOMAS

The town of Santo Tomas nestled in the Peruvian Andes. Since time immemorial, hill dwellers have had a reputation for toughness and stamina.

The strong, sure-footed, sturdy and the environment of the Andes is a tough place. The slopes are rocky, storm-blasted. Food is inadequate with the inhabitants feeding on potatoes and whatever animal one manages to hunt. On top of that altitude sickness chips in around 8,000 feet.

Regions across the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes have traditional fighting festivals as a means for this type of mountain-born aggression. It is not violent like that of a WWE fight. Rules regarding fights and weapons one can use differ from place to place, but the general idea remains the same. In Santo Tomas, the festival is known as Takanakuy, where everybody fights everybody. It takes place in the early Christmas morning.

After the first few days of drinking and merry making, the residents of Santo Tomas wake up and head to the local bullfighting ring to hit each other.

Men, children, women, the aged, the unwell and the intoxicated they all pair off, wrap their hands with scarves, give each other a warm hug before bashing each other with full might in the face. There are local referees with Roman-style whips to keep the fights from getting one-sided. The total crowd rushes in if anybody hits someone. The Peruvian legal system on the whole does not extend into this region. Therefore, the residents of Chumbivilcas save up their grievances all year then take justice into their own fists at Takanakuy. It is a source of enjoyment and fun for the natives.

People from far places visits this festival and get a great thrill out of it. Though the journey to this town is nauseating, but one can rarely enjoy the fights these people indulge in yearly to take pleasure in.