October 26, 2010

Animal sacrifice in Nepal

Walking around Bhaktapur, it was March 23, a Tuesday, but as a tourist traveling for photography, you lost the sense of the day of a week.  And particular in Nepal, the fact that it is not an industrial country makes such sense even more vague.
Then I saw lots of people gathering, so much that I thought it is a Sunday!  Some soldiers are preparing what looks like to be a ceremony, except I really have no idea.  Slowly the picture became clear, someone just join the army, and the people are celebrating the event with animal sacrifice.  For a moment, I tried to make sense out of the fact that this is a buddha nation, a hindu culture, but the fresh memory of just a few months earlier here in Nepal (to be exact, Bariyapu, south Nepal) witnessed the largest animal sacrifice festival - Gadhimai Festival.  A not exact festival to be held every 5 years with animal sacrifices for the Hindu goddess Gadhimai will end evil and bring prosperity.  It is reported that in 2 days, around 200,000 (read TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND) buffaloes, goats, chickens and pigeons killed, more on here.  Today will not have such scale, but it is still a crudity, consider it is a nation eat meat quite rarely.  But on another angle, what the public saw was animal been killed for sacrifice for goddess while in many other country, for example America, with so many meats consumed in one way or another, may be it is also not too difficult to imagine how many animal got killed for their meat, but not went on public.  So the evil is about been seen or not?  Here is a piece of article defending the animal sacrifice not the Nepali mainstream culture, which is also a good read.  There are different opinions and I have my opinion, but I'd better stop here and go on the travel and photography (and video) part.
This image shows the red column on the square, with the spectators on the background, is where the animal will be killed.  This will be the focal point when the sacrifice taking place.  The shape of the red column made similar to sex organ is a coincident or not, I have no idea.  My hunch is that it is intentional, but I could be wrong.  Many culture, Hindu is not an exception, has worship on male sex organ, and right here in Bhaktapur also located the Yaksheswor Mahadev Temple - widely noted for its wooden struts full of erotic carvings, 24 that is, to be covered later.
People of all ages are here, waiting for the ceremony, to witness the sacrifice, include the very young ones.
Some may argue over if sacrifice is part of main stream culture?  Here in Kathmandu, considered the most developed city in Nepal and assuming with the population that are best educated, people of all ages come to gather and witness what is to happen, it is hard to argue that it is not an important part of the culture, at least this is what I thought.  But I don't think either is necessary wrong, after all, this is part of religion and part of culture, they did not invent it, they just followed.  Hindu may sacrifice lots of animals, but in the history of mankind, they perhaps caused fewest wars and lost fewest people in man to man battle, so their culture is not necessary behind some others.
And here is the image of the Nepali women with their colorful dress also witness the sacrifice ceremony.
In this short ceremony I witness 5 animal sacrificed, photographed and video recorded some.  I don't promote animal sacrifice, but I have to say honestly that there is also no sad air that I can feel in the square where the ceremony were held, it seemed to me this is taken as a religious practice, and for the biggest part of it, the people believed the animal itself is willing to sacrifice.  The still image is taken with Canon 1Ds III while the video was captured from Panasonic GF-1 + 20/1.7 and Canon 5DII + EF 24-105/4L.
And this is where the sacrifice ceremony story ends. Snap with Panasonic GF-1 and 20/1.7.

15 comments:

Everest Base Camp Trek said...

sometime i do feel shame abt these sacrifises..but still we are following it...hopefully this culture would vanish within few decades!

bambam said...

Personally I think this is probably one of the nicest ways of killing an animal. Just think for a second of how animals get killed in the western world (the film Earthlings is a good start). The goat is handled with respect and its dead is fast and clean.

K said...

The best of public blogging is that it allows the comments to be made base on each perspective, no one is really wrong, just different point of view and I appreciate the feedbacks.

Anonymous said...

hi dear
this animal cruelty just see how the muslim do when they killing an animal they always hold the neck in proper way also they will cut the throat in proper way not let the animal feel much pain this is the best way not like this

Anonymous said...

What is acceptable in one culture may not necessarily be so in another so please don't post ignorant comments like "hopefully this culture would vanish within few decades!"

Anonymous said...

"What is acceptable in one culture may not necessarily be so in another so please don't post ignorant comments like "hopefully this culture would vanish within few decades!"
This is a free country...anybody can say what they want to say..it is his comments..his anger..his hearth...so he can say whatever he wants..ignorant is when you don't understand a person's feelings towards animal sacrifice....please don't judge any comments..we are a free nation.

Anonymous said...

ONLY PPL LIVING IN STONEAGE WOULD DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS. CANT BELIEVE THEY DO THIS IN THIS 21ST CENTURY.

Anonymous said...

If u cant handle a little cut don't watch it dumb ass

Anonymous said...

Moron , this is unacceptable! oh because its tradition we should accept it. murder is murder , no way around it. Go Vegan.

Anonymous said...

Just because these people "didn't invent" this tradition, doesn't mean that it is a justifiable excuse for them not to be able to evolve and move on from such a barbaric tradition. For all you people who claim the animals wouldn't have suffered, you're wrong. All animals suffer when they are killed. All fight for their lives. All feel the terror and fear beforehand. None of them want to die, just like you or I. Learn about sentience in animals. There is no excuse, in this day and age, to be continuing such barbarism. And before you call me a hypocrite, I also don't agree with slaughterhouses, as the animal suffering hidden within those walls is immense. Therefore, I am vegan. I do not support the killing of any being, no matter how it is done. The only exceptions being euthanasia if the animal is suffering and will not survive anyway, other animals hunting to survive, and cultures only killing an animal when they need to eat it for survival (e.g. Inuit Eskimos and certain other tribal and village peoples). If you live in a part of the world where you have other more humane options available to you, then you should use them, instead of eating the meat of a poor animal. We don't need meat, dairy or eggs to survive if we can have the choice of living a healthy vegan lifestyle. Animal sacrifice is not a legitimate reason to kill an innocent being who did not want to die. It is time people from these cultures evolved and stopped just following traditional beliefs because they think they have to, or that's how they were raised. This kind of 'follower' mentality is the reason there is so much cruelty carried out by humans in this world. The world should be moving towards a more peaceful way of living, where the least harm possible is done. I am tired of the vicious and destructive nature of human beings. I am tired of people using tradition and religion as an excuse for them to indulge in cruelty. I want to see an end to the barbaric killing of animals everywhere on this planet, including in slaughterhouses, which causes the greatest suffering to animals as they are killed 'en masse.' Cutting an animal's throat does not cause a quick death either, and having your throat cut whilst fully conscious is one of the worst ways to die. This is made even worse if the animal has been watching the killings of the animals that went before it, as it is even more fearful and aware of what's about to happen. Would you like to die this way? Would you like to have your head chopped off after feeling intense fear and terror and helplessness in your last moments on this Earth? There is no such thing as 'humane killing' - the two terms contradict each other. The only exception is that of euthanasia by injection when an animal is suffering and needs to be 'put out of its mysery' in a peaceful, dignified way. We really need to treat our fellow beings on this planet better. I am of no religion, but if you are, then isn't treating your fellow beings with respect and mercy, the best way to win favour with your divine power/s? What is more noble than showing kindness and doing something good for beings who are not able to repay you back in any way?

Anonymous said...

Totalement absurde, quel obscurantisme ! Inadmissible !!!!!

Unknown said...

My perspective of Nepal being one of the few spiritually evolved locations on the planet has been forever squelched. Such barbarism has no place in my world. Go vegan, you freaks.

Claudia Cheung said...

so sad! this activity should be ended!

Anonymous said...

1. I don't think the methods used in the film is anymore "inhumane" than the other animal slaughter methods.

2. It is certainly not "murder". Murder is defined as "Unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought" I don't see any human killed in the video.

3. I have no problem with veganism itself, but a lot of self-proclaim "vegans" around seems forcing their ideas on others. I often really think that veganism is becoming more a religion than a diet style.

Anonymous said...

RELIGION OR NOT THSI IS FUCKING BULLSHIT!!! WHY DONT THEY DO THAT TO THERE FAMILY MEMBERS INSTEAD THEN SEE IF IT HURTS THEM ITS NOT A FAST FUCKIN DEATH THE BODY IS STIL ALIVE FUCKIN MOVING AND THE HED NOT ONLY THAT THERES LITTLE CHILDREN IN THE CROWDS WATCHING THIS BRUTALITY!! U KNOW I USE TO FEEL SORRY FOR NEPAL PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THE POVERTY NOW AFTER GAINING KNOWLEDGE OF THIS I SAY THEY DESERVE BEING POOR HOMELESS AND FOODLESS AND MUCH WORSE I HOPE A TIME COMES WERE THERES NO ANIMALS LEFT THEY CAN SACRIFICE THER OWN DICKS AND BALLS THEN AND GIVE THAT TO THER SO CALLED GODS!! WAT A LOAD OF BULLSHIT AND I COME FROM A BACKGROUND THAT ALSO BELIVES IN SACRIFUCES DESPITE ALL THAT I CHOOSE TO STAND AGAINST IT AND THERES A MILLION PEOPLE STANDING THER WATCHING BUT NOT ! STANDS FORWARD AND SAYS STOP U COWARDLESS FUCKING PIECES OF SHIT HOPE U ALL DIE OF A TSUNAMI!!!! U DESERVE IT!!!