For 3 days the earth will mix with blood and the sky will hear the screams of thousands of animals. All this is in honor of the Hindu goddess of power. The greatest sacrifice of animals on the planet takes place during the Gadhimai Festival.
And this year, it will end on December 5.
“Gadhimai Mela” is an essentially Hindu ritual celebration occurring every five years in the Nepalese village of Bariyarpur, on the border with India. The event is attended by about 200 people including butchers and shamans, as well as thousands of faithful.
In addition to singing and praying, they take part in traditional rituals during which they sacrifice buffaloes, goats, sheep, rats, pigeons and chickens with brutal methods.
More Than 200,000 Animals Killed During Gadhimai Festival
The 2009 edition, which cost the lives of 200,000 animals, was “the greatest sacrifice in the world“. Once again this year, the hope of seeing this centuries-old tradition fade away has vanished. The Gadhimai Festival is celebrated despite a ban issued in 2015 by religious authorities, which the Nepalese Supreme Court has transmitted to local authorities. Environmental associations fighting against this cruel ceremony failed to stop the bloodshed.
Animal Equality documented the horrors of the last edition in 2014. The association collected shocking images of buffalo beheadings that occurred with repeated and ineffective blows, causing extreme suffering. To try to meet the population, the association had also proposed an alternative practice, respectful of religious traditions and less painful for the animals. However, this year the organisers decided to reject the proposal.
The strict controls carried out at the border between the two countries were not even useful. The Indian authorities and volunteers seized dozens of animals illegally transported by traders and pilgrims. But that was not enough. The international petition launched by Animal Equality was also ineffective. The association also met with officials from the Indian Ministry of Internal Affairs to call for the closure of the border with Nepal. The aim of the initiative was to block the passage of animals to sacrifice.
Although not completely effective, these initiatives on several fronts have allowed to reduce the number of victims to 30 thousand.
The Legend Behind the Rituals
Legend has it that the first sacrifices made in Bariyarpur date back several centuries. It all began when the goddess Gadhimai appeared in a prisoner’s dream and asked him to build a temple for her. According to other sources they started about 260 years ago with Bhagwan Chaudhary. A local landowner, he thought he could solve his problems if he gave his blood to the goddess of power.