~ Reetu Bajaj ’12

Gadhimai, a festival which happens only once every five years, took place in Bariyapur in southern Nepal last year. During this Hindu festival, many people from both India and Nepal gather in this city, a little south of capital Kathmandu. The celebration, in honor of goddess of power, Gadhimai, is the one of the world’s largest sacrifice of animals. According to the Huffington Post, more than 200,000 animals ranging from pigeons to buffaloes were expected to be slaughtered on November 24th and 25th of last year. The act of sacrificing is a way of thanking the deity for good luck, or perhaps asking her for luck and wealth. The largest animal that is sacrificed is the buffalo, but other animals include goats, chickens, and rats. Around 250 local men have been given licenses to slaughter the animals and spectators were required to pay 20 Nepali rupees. However, there are a number of activists who believe that the act of slaughtering is brutal and barbaric, suggesting sacrificing fruit and flowers instead. Despite strong protests by animal rights groups, hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees converged together to celebrate this centuries-old tradition.

GadhimaiImage Courtesy: BBC