Tinku Festival, Macha, Bolivia
34 images Created 5 May 2010
Each May, up to 3000 thousands indigenous Bolivian indians descend on the isolated mountainous village of Macha 75 miles north of Potosi in the Bolivian Andes. The 600 year old pre-hispanic Bolivia Festival of Tinku sees villagers from all over the region march into town to be pitted against each other in a toe to toe fist to fist combat.. They dance and sing in traditional costume and drink 96% proof alcohol along with chicha, a fermented beverage made from corn. Townspeople and sometimes the police oversee proceedings who often use tear gas to try and control the villages, whipped into a fighting frenzy by the dancing and alcohol, but as the fiesta goes on things often escalate beyond their control, with pitched battles between rival villages break out, The blood spilt is an offering to the earth goddess - Pachamama - to ensure a good harvest for the coming year. Over the years dozens have died, yet the rite continues.