La Esperanza is a little town in the state of Guerrero, where the majority of its inhabitants belong to the Nahua ethnic group.
During the first days of May, following the tradition of “Romperse la madre” (which in english is something like “beating the living crap out of each other”), people from the town “La Esperanza” meet in a field with people from the neighboring town of “Rancho Las Lomas” to engage in one on one fights as a symbolic sacrifice to the gods in exchange for a good rainy season.
Men, children, women and even the elderly, choose an opponent from the neighboring village to try to knock them out, or fight until one of the rivals decides to surrender.
For the people of “La Esperanza”, every drop of blood means a drop of rain, so the fights do not usually end until they open a pair of lips and break a couple of noses.
The festivities are not limited to punching and fighting, the townspeople of the area have celebrations for three weeks prior to the fights. These celebrations serve to gain courage for the upcoming fights, and according to the people of “La Esperanza” the best way to “man up” is to drink liters of Mezcal and climb nearby hills to pray to local saints.
Here in “La Esperanza”, as in many contemporary Mexican indigenous communities, there is a mixture of pre-Hispanic and Catholic deities, so they can either pray to the Virgin Mary or Tlaloc the Nahua god of the rain.
When the time of the confrontations comes, two people with the same physical conditions challenge each other, fight until one or both bleed and finally, say goodbye with a hug and a shot of mezcal, like many like to call “The Mexican Way”.
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