Dead and kicking
Just saw my first goat sacrifice yesterday, and am still recovering.
I was under the naive impression that they held the poor thing down, slit its throat and let the blood drain out while the animal just kind of faded away. Nope. One guy holds it up by the horns and yanks its head back, another guy holds it by its tail, lifting it off the ground. The idea is to get the blood to SPURT and PUMP out onto the vehicle (usually car, tractor or motorbike) that is being .... well, christened is definitely not the right word. ("Inaugurated," maybe.)
Then as the goat screams and kicks in the air they carry it round the bike in a circle to get ALL Corners covered by blood.
If you stand too close you are in danger of getting spurted on, for real. Fresh blood is the reddest red you can imagine, it almost hurts your eyes. I used to have a bright red nail polish that was the same colour but you never see it elsewhere in nature. Not that bright.
Finally they brutally sever the head (at this point the throat is torn wide> open and you can almost see the heart still pumping) and put the head in the front adorning the ground. The body lies kicking and thrashing beside the vehicle.
I love all animals, but goats really have sass and personality, and this really bothered me. According to an American Hindu scholar who was with me, the scriptures say it is not a sin to eat meat as long as it was sacrificed to a god. But does sacrificing it in order to safeguard your vehicle count as religious? or at all spiritual?
Everywhere we went, at literally every corner of Bhaktapur, there were machines and vehicles adorned not just with pools of blood but what looked like clear plastic tubing. These turned out to be the washed strung-up entrails of the animal, draped like a festive garland over the radiator grill or handlebars. I purposely missed the sacrifice of a water buffalo last night in front of Brahmayani Peeth temple, but I did talk to the Navadurga Dancers who were required to drink the blood straight from the animal's neck. Their white ritual gowns were soaked pink like tie-dye. It is still really hot here in the daytime (okay, pretty hot - nothing like India though) so I am tired from walking all over town. Time to go shower. I have loads of photos to download, too.
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