In Bali, cockfights, known as tajen, are practiced in an ancient religious purification ritual to expel evil spirits. This ritual, a form of animal sacrifice, is called tabuh rah ("pouring blood").

The purpose of tabuh rah is to provide an offering (the blood of the losing chicken) to the evil spirits. Cockfighting is a religious obligation at every Balinese temple festival or religious ceremony. Cockfights without a religious purpose are considered gambling in Indonesia, although it is still largely practiced in many parts of Indonesia. Women are generally not involved in the tabuh rah process.

The cockfight might served as a pastiche or model of wider Balinese society from which judgments about other aspects of the culture could be drawn.