09/07/2012 06:24 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mexican Tiger Fighting for Rain God

Once a year, Abad Macario Díaz puts on his padded jaguar mask and slings jabs and uppercuts in an impromptu outdoor fight club.

Hundreds of spectators pour in from his hometown of Acatlan, Mexico, to watch this age-old ritual, known as Tiger Fighting (a misnomer since they wear Jaguar masks).

"The main reward is rain," he says.

To petition a bountiful harvest from the God of Rain, participants dance, whip and box each other. "Without this rainy season, well, there wouldn't be a harvest. And if there's no harvest, there's no food. And if there's no food, there's no Acatlan," Díaz says.

Storyhunters Nancy Lillian De la Cruz and Nicolas Cruz capture vivid images of this spiritual ritual and take us behind the scenes with the fighters in our latest video dispatch:

Mexican Tiger Fighting for Rain God from Storyhunter on Vimeo.

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