Yawar Fiesta: The Blood Festival of Peru

The crowd bustles with cheer and the band plays loud music as the bloody battle begins. Yawar fiesta or the Blood Festival is a status symbol for many Andean communities. The celebration of this festival is accompanied by a raging fight between a bull and an Andean condor. The blood fight involves tying of condor on the top of bull wherein both of them struggle to get rid of each other. This festival attracts many tourists to Peruvian villages especially Chalhuanca, Cotabamba or Coyllurki, every year from all over the world. It is conducted on July 29 every year, a day after Peru’s Independence Day.

Yawar fiesta has a religious significance attached to it as the indigenous people of the Andes believe if their divine bird condor is wounded or killed during the battle, then as an act of God, something bad is going to affect their community. The bloody game began with the conquest of Spain over Peru wherein bull was led by Spanish and condor represented Peruvians. The age-old tradition still continues to reflect the triumph of Incan culture over the dominating Spanish conquistadors.

Usually, condors are captured a month before the festival day to get them used to the human environment and are fed on entrails and liquor to build their strength for the game. From what I have heard, the game gets bloody when the condor starts pecking on the bull’s body and the bull shakes his body to throw the condor down. And when the bull gets tired by constant pecking by condor, the bullfighters in the arena try to enrage the bulls to make them equally competent for the condor. But, many a times, condors also slip down the bull’s body seriously wounding and even killing them.

It takes a lot of preparation in these villages to conduct the event successfully. Though this spectacular game is getting popular among the tourists and Quechua community, there are many who have shown resentment on carrying this bloody tradition forward considering the threat to the rare Andean bird, the biggest flying creatures in the world.

I personally do not like harming animals even when it comes to indigenous cultures. Do you think indigenous peoples across the world can be encouraged to give up what could be animals rights abuses? Or would this be an act of interference?

Via: SF Gate

Image from Wikipedia

Jude C

I am a travel enthusiast who has closely worked with different communities. My interests range from alternative rock to English literature. I also happen to love cats a lot.

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