Archive for November, 2009
By Joanna Jolly
BBC News, Bariyapur
Hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees have converged on a town in Nepal for a festival which is considered the world’s largest animal sacrifice.
The Gadhimai festival, which happens once every five years, is taking place in Bariyapur in southern Nepal.
More than a quarter of a million animals are expected to be slaughtered for Gadhimai – a goddess of power.
Sacrifice is a seen as a way of thanking the deity for good luck, or asking her for fortune and prosperity.
“The goddess needs blood,” says Chandan Dev Chaudhury, a priest at the Gadhimai Temple in the centre of the festival site.
“If anyone has a problem, then I will cut the throat of an animal in the temple and that person’s problem will be solved.”
Many of the worshippers have come from neighbouring India for the two-day festival.
Sixty-year-old Suresh Patak and his family travelled for a day to reach the festival from the Indian state of Bihar.
They have brought a goat to offer to the goddess.
“I have come here to worship Gadhimai. We are dedicated to her,” he says.
Devotees have arrived from neighbouring India
“It is our ancient belief.”
Festival organisers estimate more than half a million people are already at the festival site.
Many of them, like Suresh, have brought their own animals to be killed.
Behind high brick walls, thousands of buffalo move silently through the winter fog.
They are the largest animals to be sacrificed, but goats, chickens, pigeons and rats will also be killed.
Police inspector Bikesh Adhikari is one of the officials guarding the buffalo enclosure.
“First of all five buffalo are taken and sacrificed at the temple,” he says.
“The rest are sacrificed here.”
Two hundred and fifty local men have been given licences to slaughter the animals using traditional khukuri knives.
Spectators queue to watch the killing, each paying 20 Nepali rupees (26 cents).
But the scale and method of this sacrifice has angered some Nepalis.
‘Cruel and barbaric’
Outside the temple grounds, a small but vocal group of animal rights activists cracked coconuts in a symbolic temple sacrifice.
It was a last minute plea to the organisers of the festival to call off the event.
They say that it is cruel and barbaric and that Hindu gods can be appeased by fruit and flower sacrifices.
“We’re just giving out a message, that’s all we can do at this stage,” says protest organiser Pramada Shah.
The animal sacrifice has angered a lot of activists
“We’re not saying stop the Gadhimai Festival – everybody’s having a nice time,” she says.
“But let’s have it in a less gory manner is all we’re trying to say.”
But it is unlikely the animal sacrifice will stop.
Not only does the Gadhimai festival attract hundreds of thousands of worshippers, it is also big business.
The meat, bones and hides of the animals are sold to companies in India and Nepal.
Local hotels and restaurant owners thrive during the festival period.
And while protestors say they hope to raise awareness about the issue of animal cruelty, this ancient and bloody homage to the goddess Gadhimai looks set to continue.
Mon 11/23 Blues Control (Queens, NY) / Jamie Stewart (of Xiu Xiu doing an experimental set) / Randy Pelosi and Ethan Clauset improv set – $ 6 9:30 PM
Blues Control – vox, keys, ryhthm track & guitar duo from Queens with the ear and the touch to bring krautrock alive in full psychedelic glory and seamless mood control. A lovely rockin relation. With stone classics out on Fusetron, Holy Mountain and Siltbreeze. Here on the last date of a two month long tour! Check a recent performance and interview here.
Jamie Stewart – front of Xiu Xiu here in an experimental solo set! gongs, signal generator, dogs, cats, mice and men!
Randy Pelosi and Ethan Clauset – Improv set from these two local artists & longtime collaborators who began playing together in the legendary Kismet.
and she hurt you. and your anger elaborates memories of every moment you had with her. it pulls at seams of the trust she took for granted and stitches them back to your pain. how stupidly we hurt each other.
what are we, filthy little things, to cheat each other and collect reasons to cry. we hurt, then we ask for pity. what are we, filthy little things, to ask for pity.
…I went up blue all the stairs;
The sky of our house was not the same as our neighbours,
I went down hungry all the stairs
To the depth of wheat.
Searching for the whiteness of the horse,
All over the wheat field I could see only one path,
Which my father, with his grey hair, trod.
I had crossed the wheat field alone,
I had seen the wheat
But still I could not say: My horse!
They reaped my horse.