Tinku Festival, Bolivia

Tinku_EvaBartlema

Does club kicking-out time on a Saturday night send you scuttling for the nearest taxi? Then don’t mess with the Bolivians – they’ve turned drunken brawling it into an art and they’ve been practising for six centuries.

Tinku Fighting is held during May in the inhospitable Potosí region high on the Bolivian altiplano. The festival begins innocently enough with some harmless stomping and stiff-armed, rhythmical whacking. However, fuelled by copious quantities of 90% rubbing alcohol (the tipple of choice for Bolivia’s poor), it quickly descends into a grisly display of bare-knuckle fighting and ritual bloodshed, often pursued to the death.

This ritual exists as a means of dispelling tensions between rival indigenous clans and promoting a prosperous harvest through the sacrifice of human blood. Quirky or disturbing? You decide.

Written by - Photo by Eva Bartlema

Readers who enjoyed
this article also liked:

  • Ras Tafari’s Toilet, Ethiopia

    For anyone who has ever had a rasta moment, visiting the toilet of Haile Salassie, or Jah, as he is known to his Rastafarian worshippers, is something of a pilgrimage.

  • Aircraft fuselage hotel, Costa Rica

    You could join the Mile High Club with ease and comfort at this Costa Rica retreat, if only the plane in question were a little further off the ground.

  • Massaging nuns, Austria

    If you think massage is good for the body and soul, just wait until you’ve been massaged by a nun.

Discuss

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close