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Mexico’s blood ritual for bringing rain

Chilpancingo, Mexico, May 5 (EFE).- Nahua Indians living in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero gathered Friday to offer their blood – drawn from fights between participants – to the earth and the god Tlaloc in exchange for the rain necessary for a good harvest.

As part of the Atsatsilistli ritual (request for rain), people gather every May 5 in the central square of Zitlala, an area identified as the Lower Mountain of Guerrero, for its proximity to that region, and fight by exchanging blows. The one who can withstand the most hits, wins.

Unlike other ancestral rituals in which the attendees beat each other with fists, the Atsatsilistli has people using braided rope whips.

From the day before the ritual, copious amounts of mezcal – a distilled beverage of maguey – is consumed as a fundamental ingredient of the ritual. It also serves as a kind of anesthetic during the ritual fights.

In each neighborhood there is a festive atmosphere, with music and food everywhere. The ritual begins with participants dressing up in tiger costumes either in their homes or in a meeting house, before leaving for the ritual site.

The ritual takes place inside a kind of cage to prevent crowds from disturbing the proceedings.

“I like the blows and I like to participate in the rain request so that the harvest goes well,” a cheerful Pablo Hernandez said after his fight.

For the residents of Zitlala municipality, participating in the ritual is very special. Moreover, it is important to be in good shape given that the fights last between 5-15 minutes. EFE


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