TAJEN - BALI COCKFIGHT
Banned in Indonesia since 1981, the cockfights take place all over Bali, mainly in the rural areas at improvised arenas. The millenary practice of Tajen - Balinese for cockfight - is deeply connected to the practice of Hinduism. Allowed inside the temples as part of the sacrificial rituals, known as the "Tabuh Rah." This ritual translates into bloodshed, which Hinduism advocates as a way to dispel off evil spirits. If cockfighting in a religious context is the exception in the law, its performance beyond the sacred ground has been strictly prohibited by the Jakarta Central Government since 1981, which has not stopped the continuation of the ancient activity, embedded in Balinese popular culture. The sacrificial and religious dimensions of the practice soon were transmuted for the game dimension, rich in mysticism and beliefs, social tensions, and interpersonal violence, a symbol of manhood. So much at stake for dozens of men: money, honor, courage and faith.