Friday, December 28, 2007

A delayed post - Hari Raya Haji

I actually wrote this post last Thursday (20 December) but just felt that I was in too much of a Christmassy mood to post it. So, I've saved it for AFTER Christmas. Like now.


Today is Hari Raya Haji and here in Palembang, its a public holiday. This is the celebration that marks the end of the Muslim pilgrimage rites in Mecca. Everywhere else, Muslims start the day with prayers in the morning, followed by sacrifices of cows and goats. The sacrifices are to commemorate Abraham's test of faith when asked to sacrifice his son. The meat is then distributed back to the people who donated money and also to the poor.

So....I have been curious about the sacrifices and was looking forward to going to watch. BUT, I'm glad that Aaron was sleeping and I couldn't make it. I sent Richard to get me some photos instead. I'm not going to post them all here because they were just too gruesome. I have no idea how animals are normally slaughtered and I don't want to know but these seemed so cruel. Here are some of the photos from the day:

Morning Prayers

Waiting around for the sacrificing to start

Holding the cow down

Cow slowly bleeding to death on the right. Children all watching on the left. Can you imagine that?! Maybe I'm 'bubble wrapping' but I don't think I want to let Aaron see that sort of stuff until he's 18.

Maybe I didn't grow up in this culture so I couldn't share in their excitement but for the Muslims here, it really was a joyous day. They spent it with friends and family, watching the sacrifices, chit chatting and making curries out of the meat.


Bilbo said...

This is a good example of a praiseworthy goal (meat for the poor) achieved in a way that seems somehow offensive to people raised in other cultures. I'm no psychologist, but I can't help but think that children sitting and watching animals be killed like this gradually become inured to violence and bloodshed (much like American children watching too much violence on TV).

Jean-Luc Picard said...

It can't help young children when they see that

egan said...

I'm not even sure 18 is a good age. Seeing that stuff as an adult is rough. The traditions are important since they bring the families together as you pointed out.

Kellan said...

Well - the curries sound good. Thanks, as always, for sharing these traditions that are so foreign to me. Hope you are well and I'll see you soon. Kellan

Amanda said...

I was talking to some of the neighbors about the kids watching it and they just laughed it off. They said that the kids have been watching this every year since they were babies. Like Bilbo mentions, its really nothing to them. And I've noticed that as adults, they don't have much of a reaction when they see cute puppies or kittens get run over. Its just a part of life to them.