The practice of this age old and warped tradition is finally seeing numbered days.
“The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration.”
There is only one way you can describe the practices of Gadhimai – ritualistic madness. In the past years, The Gadhimai festival of Nepal’s deeply imbibed sacrificial ceremony called for the killing 100,000 buffalos, goats, chickens, ducks, and other animals. Held every five years at the Gadhimai Temple of Bariyarpur, in Bara District in Kathmandu and primarily celebrated by Madheshi and Bihari people, the mass ritualistic sacrifices were done with the goal of pleasing Gadhimai, the goddess of power.
Finally, there has been some respite as The Gadhimai Temple Trust itself took a decision to stop these mass killings during future celebrations. The practice that has taken place for over 300 years will no longer be welcome during the festival and devotees have been strongly advised to end all kinds of animal sacrifice during the celebrations.
According to a report in The Hindu, the chairman of the trust Ram Chandra Shah stated –
“The Gadhimai Temple Trust hereby declares our formal decision to end animal sacrifice. With your help, we can ensure Gadhimai 2019 is free from bloodshed. Moreover, we can ensure Gadhimai 2019 is a momentous celebration of life….For generations, pilgrims have sacrificed animals to the Goddess Gadhimai, in the hope of a better life. For every life taken, our heart is heavy. The time has come to transform an old tradition. The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration.”
The decision is a sigh of relief for animal rights activists who have held numerous protests in the recent past. In 2009 activists made several attempts to stop the ritual, including Brigitte Bardot and Maneka Gandhi, who wrote to the Nepalese government asking them to stop the killings. A government official commented that they would not “interfere in the centuries-old tradition of the Madheshi people.” However The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs did direct the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to monitor and make sure no animals get to Nepal for the festival.
We at Festival Sherpa earlier reported on the ban of bullfighting at a small Spanish town and were terribly pleased to hear of this as well. We can only hope other countries, cities and towns follow suit in ending mass animal sacrifices and similar slaughter festivals.