Nepal is still mourning after the devastating earthquake that killed thousands. But what we didn’t know is that Nepal is home to probably the biggest sacrificial offering in a Hindu religion. It’s a two day religious festival where buffalo, birds and goats are sacrificed to appease a Hindu god Gadhimai, the goddess of power.
This festival was held every 5 years, millions of Hindus gathered at the temple Gadhimai, in Bariyarpur, Nepal, near the Indian border where the ceremony was be held.
According to PETA, in 2009, 250, 000 animals were slaughtered during the said festival.
5 years later, in 2014, it is estimated that the numbers of animal that lined up matched the numbers in 2009 or even more.
This is why some organization are campaigning to put a stop in this religious practice and end animal cruelty.
But before the sacrificing ceremony started, in Thursday night of November 27, 2014, butchers raised their weapons for the blessing ceremonies for their swords.
Devotees flocked the temple of the goddess Gadhimai in the small Nepalese border town of Bariyarpur bringing vast quantities of livestock for beheading in the next two days of the festival. Believers spent days sleeping out in the open and offered prayers to the goddess at a temple decked with flowers in preparation. The sacrificing ritual begun at dawn with a ceremonial “pancha bali” or the sacrifice of five animals, consist of a rat, goat, rooster, pig and a pigeon, before moving on to buffalo.
The festivities then kicked off in Friday morning of November 28, 2014 with the mass-slaughter of 5,000-6,000 buffalo in a field. Butchers wields his kukri, a traditional Nepalese knife, over a buffalo calf right before severing its head. According to local government official Yogendra Prasad Dula, about 2.5 million devotees have turned out for the festival. He also added, “It was impossible to estimate the total number of animals sacrificed so far.
Gadhimai temple head priest Mangal Chaudhary said, “It has been a grand day, the buffalo sacrifice has ended, but we will continue the rituals with goats and other animals for one more day.” He added, “On the first day, worshippers slaughtered more than 6,000 buffaloes, which were corralled into holding pens in the fields, along with at least 100,000 goats and other animals.” The festivities continued until Saturday, were at least another 100,000 animals were killed for goddess Gadhimai.
Animal rights activists PETA campaigned and pleaded to the government of Nepal to end the mass animal-slaughter, but despite their efforts, the organizers of the festival insisted that year 2014 will be the biggest festival yet. Hundreds of police controlled the vast crowd of devotees and made sure that no incident between activists4 and believers occurs.
Yogendra Dulal, an assistant administrator of the Bara district said, “It is a ritual connected with people’s faith, we can’t hurt their sentiments and ban the practice.” Worshippers believe the animal sacrifice, meant to appease Gadhimai brings them luck and prosperity.
And if you’re wondering what happened to the slaughtered animal after the festival ended, the temple officials have said, “The heads of the sacrificed animals will be buried in a huge pit while the animal hides and skin will be sold to traders who have contracted to buy them.” Uttam Kafle, of rights group Animal Nepal, told Reuters. “It is not proper to kill animals in the name of religion. We are trying to convince the people that they can worship at the shrine peacefully and without being cruel to animals.”
Meanwhile, India’s Supreme Court asked the government to stop the illegal movement of animals into Nepal for the ceremony. I can’t believe this kind of religious practice still exists. I can understand if one or two or even ten animals will be sacrifice but to the extent of a quarter million of animals being slaughtered? I don’t know. I’m not against religious practices but this one is a sore in the eye! Anyway it’s their beliefs, there’s nothing we can do but respect it. What do you think?
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