The locals come down from the mountains drunk, dancing and ready to fight. The police come to make sure no one dies. And the tourists, reporters, and documentary filmmakers come for the blood.
The outside world has discovered Tinku, an ancient ritual in which indigenous Quechua communities gather each year in a remote corner of the Bolivian Andes to dance, sing and settle old scores in staggering and bloody street fights.
The largest Tinku takes place early each May in Macha, about 210 miles southeast of La Paz, where this year’s festival provided a stunning and sometimes uneasy combination of culture, spectacle and violence.
Relatively unknown outside the Andes for centuries, Tinku remains on the fringe of Bolivia’s growing tourism industry. But its heavily asterisked listing in the guidebooks (Lonely Planet calls it “a violent and often grisly spectacle”) is beginning to draw both backpackers and media curious to witness the peculiar event firsthand.
(via Danger Room)