Spreading blood to ward off evil spirts
While cockfighting has been illegal in Bali since 1981, local authorities ‘tolerate’ it when it’s done for religious purposes. The practice of cockfighting – tajen in the local language – is rooted in religious beliefs, and it’s believed to be a part of a ritual called Tabuh Rah (which literally means “spreading blood”). Sharp blades are attached to the cock’s feet to make the fight more violent and to quicken the spilling of blood on the ground which is meant to ward off evil spirits.
This men I met in the jungle around Ubud was very proud to show me his stable of cock fighters and the custom made blades they use during matches.