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Despite being illegal since 1981, cockfighting holds particular significance in Bali. It is "tolerated" by local authorities, although the practice remains largely unknown to many. Balinese life continually embraces progress, yet traditions, especially those rooted in religion, remain ingrained in daily life. Hence, it is not uncommon to witness clandestine cockfights.


In many villages, cockfighting is a genuine social event where men proudly display their roosters for combat, while women seize the opportunity to sell food and clothing, attracting curious tourists.


According to local beliefs, cockfighting is part of Tabuh Rah, a Balinese ritual. It occurs either for religious purposes or simply as entertainment and business meetings. During these fights, the rooster brings pride and honor to its owner, and anyone who wins gains social recognition akin to being a true "warrior," reaffirming their masculinity.


The ensuing bloodshed serves to ward off evil spirits, and in this case, it flows abundantly. Indeed, cockfighting is the bloodiest of any other practice, as sharp blades are attached to the roosters' legs to "accelerate" the bloody massacre.


Roosters, armed with blades on their legs, peck and scratch each other until one emerges victorious, proudly displaying the defeated rooster's carcass. All this unfolds before spectators who shout and wave their money, indebting themselves and losing invaluable assets like substantial sums of money or even land and houses.


The victorious rooster is then cooked and eaten with the winner's family, considered the greatest prize.


All of this still sparks controversy and social confusion as the real reason for the "clandestine" rooster fights has yet to be defined. The only certainty is that it brings together the most important elements of life: entertainment, honor, tradition, and economic affairs.

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