A Feast of Fighting in Cuzco on Christmas, the Takanakuy

The 25th of December Christmas arises for adults and Children. They receive gifts and spend time in their families. However, there is a different tradition for this day. Instead of gifts and hugs, they hope to resolve the problems that arose throughout the year, people fight with bare fists.

This feast, and it is a feast, not just a brawl, people resolve all offenses, hatreds, angers, infidelities, even competing love for a person. The people upset with each other give a call out to the other person to be present and to resolve the issue with fists.  At the end, they put the problems aside as resolved and begin the new year fresh and unencumbered.

Videos of Takanakuy and Bull Runs
Videos of Takanakuy and Bull Runs

Anyone can participate in this feast, men, women and children. Of course there are rules for these fights. Without them, the process could become uncontrolled and disgraces could happen.

In order to maintain order, the referees interfere in the fights. When someone falls to the ground or begin to bleed, they announce the fight is over. The referees decide who won the fight.

The feast begins with what is called the huaylilla, a dance and song. The fighters begin dancing to this music which involves song, guitars, and mandolins. Most of the participants use leather leg covers, called escarpines, that go from ankles to thighs, like chaps. They wear chumpis or fajas, broad, hand-woven belts around their abdomen. They wrap their fists with ribbons woven from wool that are tied around their wrists and finally an ukuku mask that covers their face.

Majeño Masks and Maqtillo who Keeps Order
Majeño Masks and Maqtillo who Keeps Order (Photo: Wayra)


To calm their nerves and desires to fight, many of the competitors drinks some cups of liquor in order to be ready to confront the challenge. Many people watch the festival, the fighting, and to enjoy the music.

Every year the Takanakuy is carried out in Chumbivillcas, a province of Cuzco. But they also take place in different places such as in Cuzco and in Lima. In Cuzco they will happen in the fairgrounds of Huancaro.  People say these fights are for machos.


The festival is getting more and more known. You can now find videos of the feast on You Tube. There is also much information on line, indexed on Google and other search engines. Videos of the fights are also sold in the streets. Many more people than those present will get to know this feast and it will be commented on throughout the world.


Brayan Coraza Morveli

Soy completamente cusqueño. Mi profesión es analista de sistemas. Me encanta escuchar y tocar la música andina tanto como bailar break. Me gusta también compartir mi experiencias como cusqueño con gente de otros lados. Una de mis metas es llegar a conocer mi cultura más profundamente y compartirla ampliamente con gente de otras generaciones tanto como con hermanos y hermanas de otros lados de nuestra planeta.

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