Brutal rain ritual a tradition for women in Mexican village
Monday, July 6, 2015, 10:32 - Extreme weather often calls for extreme measures. The threat of seasonal drought have women in one Mexican community fighting for their livelihood ― literally.
Every May, women from across the southwestern state of Guerrero gather in the village of La Esperanza. Here they begin an annual ritual intended to usher in the rain ahead of the dry, summer season.
They do this by beating one another to a bloody pulp.
The event coincides with the planting of new crops. This so-called 'Farmer Fight Club' is restricted to female fighters, while the men of the village toil away in the fields.
The brawls are just one part of a yearly celebration to inspire enough rainfall to grow substantial fruits and vegetables to feed local communities.
On the day of the official ceremony, ladies spend the morning preparing a massive pot-luck of a variety of cultural dishes including turkey, chicken, rice, boiled eggs and tortillas.
The food is then taken to the fighting grounds, where it is laid out to be shared and consumed by fellow villagers.
Officials, family members, friends and just about anyone is welcome to join the feast and stay for the fight.
Once the appropriate prayers and offerings have been made to deities at a sacred sight, the real action begins.
Fights involve able-bodied women of all ages from a number of nearby Nahua communities.
It's not about who wins or loses, but the greater good of appeasing the gods of nature, with as much bloodshed as possible.
As the brawls rage on, blood from the wounded warriors is collected in buckets, then taken to the fields to be spread and ploughed into the soil.
The Nahua are indigenous peoples of Mexico and El Salvador, descended from the Aztecs. They recognize spilled blood as a form of sacrifice to their gods.
Shedding blood through a bout of fisticiffs is a popular form of celebration within the culture.
The Nahuan Indian community have been known to reenact ancient Aztec battles by throwing down as part of winter Carnival celebrations.
Located in a tropical area of southern Mexico, the state of Guerrero sees an average of 59 inches of rain every year, with summer months typically the driest of the year.