Cockfighting on the island of the Gods

 Cockfighting has a profoundly spiritual aspect in Balinese culture. It is said that in order to keep away the numerous evil spirits that dwell on the Island of the Gods, blood must be spilled in the temples as an offering, to quench the demon’s thirst.


Cockfighting is illegal in Indonesia, though still occurs frequently in Bali. The fights are usually held in secluded places in semi secrecy, often with the necessary bribes having been paid. Many Balinese men spend great time grooming, feeding and training their prize cocks, keeping them in wicker cages in the courtyards of their houses.


Cockfights are usually held in the late afternoon, and generally consists of around ten separate fights. Once the roosters are matched, the razor sharp spurs are attached to the back of their legs, while bets are frantically made. The two cocks are then placed opposite each other in the ring and the bought begins. The birds fly into each other aggressively until one deals a mortal blow. The Gods appeased, the owner of the winning cock can take home the carcass of the loser to eat.


Many of the fights happen away from the eyes of the law, such as in the hills around Lovina in the north of Bali.