While the World Olympics take place every four years, Brazil's indigenous Olympic event takes place every year. This year's event was held in the Northeastern State of Pernambuco on November 30th. The event, which lasts one week, attracted over 1,000 athletes and is the world's largest gathering of Indians, representing over 40 Indian tribes.
Competitors compete in indigenous games such as spear-throwing, canoe racing, archery, dart blowing and foot racing - one of the highlights as it requires runners to carry with them 200 pound tree trunks on their shoulders.
Much like the World Olympics, the ceremony begins with a parade of all the Indian tribes, dressed festively in their traditional garbs. At the end of the parade, a 40-feet torch is lit and then archers use flaming arrows to ignite some spectacular fireworks.
Unlike the World Olympics however, the main aim here is not to win, but to celebrate the coming together of all the tribes and of life in general. Also, unlike the normal Olympics, the competitors are not trained for the sports they compete in, and there is often a lot of confusion about the rules.
One year, a runner kept running even after getting to the finish line. He simply ducked under the tape and kept going. Another year, when the winners of a track and field event were called to accept their medals, nobody showed up. They had already left to join some singing and dancing that was going on outside the arena. The crowd can also get really rowdy. One year, the women of one of the tribes threw sand on the faces of men in their tug-of-war team, after the team lost.
All in all, this provides a lot of camaraderie, for the Indians who are often completely cut from the rest of the world and other Indian tribes as well. Click below to watch some of the events: