Goat town

You see what I did there? It’s not ghost town, it’s goat town. Witty, huh? I know, I know, pretty lame, but in all honesty Kathmandu has turned into a goat town for the past couple of days. And it is not surprising given that on coming Saturday Hindu people celebrate the 8th day of Dasain called Maha Asthami. This is the day when the most demonic of Goddess Durga’s manifestations, the blood-thirsty Kali, is appeased through the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of buffaloes, goats, pigeons and ducks in temples throughout the nation. Blood, symbolic for its fertility, is offered to the Goddesses. Really, people don’t only do the sacrifice in temples but also in their yards.

I have been seeing goats all over the place these days. They are bleating everywhere I turn. This morning while driving to work, I realized a huge part of the road has been made into a goat market. It’s kind of cute and really morbid at the same time. People can be seen everywhere picking goats up to test the weight, inspecting them for fat and meat quality, and walking them around on a leash. Also driving them around on motorbikes and in taxis. It kind of looks hilarious, but when I remember the poor destiny of these animals, it’s not funny anymore.

What to say? Outlook is not positive. Sorry goat.

What to say? Outlook is not positive. Sorry goat.

I do like goat meat, or popularly known as mutton around here, but I’m not sure how I feel about meeting the origin of it in person. I’m a city child – I never had to kill an animal myself to eat it. But I do remember times when I would be dragged to chicken and pig slaughters (for a lack of better word) in the countryside when I was a kid. I suppose it’s not much different than goat sacrifice that will happen on Saturday. Yes, it’s cruel and probably unnecessary, but on the other hand it’s tradition and eventually a circle of life. Argh, it’s a tough one – it’s hard to pick a side.

What’s your take on the whole thing? Do share.

Goat or not, happy Bijaya Dashami everyone!

13 thoughts on “Goat town

  1. Happy Dashain Z, I have the same dilemma…I love to eat goat meat but at the same time knowing the fate of the goat, it does make me feel a little guilty. I can understand why vegetarians choose to be so but I doubt if I can ever be one 😦

  2. Pingback: Maha Shashti – Welcoming the Daughter | Learning From Life

  3. What most ‘Westerners’ forget to grasp is that ‘Sacrifice’ does not mean just kill the animal and leave them in the dump! It gets eaten later on! Not just sacrified and then wasted. Where do these people think their meat come from? No death is good – Sacrifice or Slaughter house! But people gotta live with the fact that an animal needs to be killed to get the meat! I happen to be a Vegeterian…and wouldnt moan about sacrifice, as long as its eaten!

    • I’m going to have to disagree with you. I am sure most ‘Westerners’ know very well where the meat comes from. I suppose it has become sort of “modern” to talk about it as a bad thing. People have been hunting animals and eating them for thousands of years, so no secret there.
      Also, other religions, not only Hinduism, have sacrifice as a part of a religious ceremony, but, at least in Christianity, over time, the purpose of the ceremonial slaughter has been forgotten. That doesn’t mean people stopped eating meat on big Christian holidays.
      What I find troubling is actually looking in the eyes of the animal I will eat later – it forms an emotional connection for me. What can I say, I’m a mushy like that 🙂

      • Each to their own I guess…I live in the UK…and I know there was a food program where they showed an animal being slaughtered and skinned, and it attracted a lot of complaints. Just saying people like believing their steak grow on trees. But people got to learn where the food comes from. I mean our generation is fine I guess…there was a program where little kids thought fish fingers came from chicken..etc. Also I do not think a lot of people know what ‘sacrifice’ means here..when I talk to them. They automatically think kill the animal and not utilise it for meat. And that is what frustrates me!

        Great insightful blogs btw…I cant wait to go to Nepal in Dec…and also your beloved Croatia..down to Montenegro…Went as close to Budapest this summer! Croatia…next! Ever since the WC 98 I have wanted to go there..

  4. Well, we have Eid here ( a Muslim tradition) where the holy cow to the Hindus is “sacrificed” … being born and raised in a non-extremist Muslim country, I still don’t get the need to have a mass massacre. I know its “sacrificed” and I know people are going to eat it later and “distribute it to the poor” (which is the whole purpose as in Muslim tradition meat eating-beef eating is considered a “Sunnah” which to me translates as some good that adds to their good deeds and as the tradition goes, poorer people cannot afford this so during “Eid” they sacrifice and distribute the meat.. but what really happens is that rich people buy their cows and distribute it among family and friends who are equally rich and eventually have a freezer full of beef.

    I know Dashain is about lots of khasi ko maasu and its a favourite but like you said the idea of “where” it comes from is quite disturbing. I am not a vegetarian and in Buddhism they say “do not kill” but I remember visiting friend’s homes during Eid and it was very disturbing looks at cows and goats tied up in their front yards and WORSE still when sometimes I was there for the sacrificial (everyone would run out to see the thing happen as it was termed “good” while I hid inside covering my ears because they.. bleated or mooed or something.)

    Each to his own beliefs, last year I even had a controversial blog post on this.. but to me it doesn’t justify, just makes my skin creep)

    • It’s definitely not an easy thing to make peace with. No wonder it’s such a controversial topic. I completely understand what you’re talking about.

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