Peruvians duke it out in traditional Christmas fighting festival

Fists fly on Christmas Day in an annual Peruvian cathartic fighting ritual to help start the new year with a clean slate.VIDEO: REUTERS

CHUMBIVILCAS, PERU (REUTERS) - The annual holiday slugfest in Peru.

Christmas Day has become a time to settle old scores - and start the new year with a fresh slate.

Takanakuy combines combines the native word for fight and the native word for mutual, and is celebrated each year at Christmas time, during an event that community members say resolves conflicts and improves relationships.

"For us, it's a custom; a tradition where the Chumbivilcans have the tradition of the great Takanakuy every December 25, and our blood boils," said Chumbivilcas mayor David Vera.

Judges and referees are on hand to declare the winners in fights over issues ranging from affairs of the heart to financial and legal disputes.

The event serves as a form of community justice aimed at quashing conflict between residents and allowing participants to start the new year in peace and harmony.