Stop Gadimai: A festival where 200,000 animals are killed (Nepal)

Friday, 16 October 2009
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Stop Gadimai

Can you picture 7,000 young buffaloes being rounded up and killed by a thousand drunk men carrying large knives? A festival where 200,000 animals are killed to please a goddess?

This is exactly what -if nothing is done- will happen in December 2009 in Nepal. The Gadimai Festival in Bariyarpur, Bara District, is held each 5 years. The mass sacrifice turns the entire area into a marshy land of blood. Animal Nepal and Animal Welfare Network Nepal want to end this bloody, cruel practice.

For more information go to Worship Without Cruelty at

Gadimai: The Gadimai Mela takes place every five years in Bariyarpur, Bara district, in the south of Nepal and is scheduled for Kartik (October-November) this year. The fair is infamous for the large number of animals (up to 200.000) which are sacrificed to appease the Gadimai goddess. The fair reaches its climax on an ‘auspicious’ day, when thousands of buffaloes are sacrificed. The blood letting that takes place turns the entire area into a marshy land of blood. It is expected that this year some 60.000 young he-buffaloes will be killed, as well as an additional 140.000 chicken, goats, pigs, birds and other poultry. The first ritual during Gadimai is to worship the weapons which are used in the sacrifice. The priests chant different hymns to appease the Goddess Gadimai. Once the pre-sacrificial rituals end the animals are brought in for the kill. The sacrifice starts with the offering of five different animals: pig, buffalo, goat, wild rats and birds which include chicken and pigeon. The different animals represent the mental obscurations sacrificed by the community including anger, stupidity and desire. After the sacrifice of the first animal, a goat, thousands of pigeons are sacrificed by severing their heads. Next three wild rats are brought and sacrificed before a comb like pole. After this more than 250 people carrying naked swords and axes wrapped in red clothes, all with a license to kill, approach the temple. They frantically rush towards the field where more than 7,000 young buffaloes are kept. Before the beasts are slaughtered, seven buffaloes tied to a pole undergo the sacrificial ritual. In the end, only the heads of those gentle animals who were alive just a few moments ago, remain. More info on the Gadimai Festival can be found at

Sasarimaiko: The Sasarimaiko Mela in Mahottari which is held every twelve years and witnesses the killing of 10,000 animals. Both Terai festivals have been ‘transferred’ from India, possibly during the 11th century, and therefore are not indigenous celebrations of Nepalese culture.

UPDATE: A number of religious groups in Nepal are opposing this mass sacrifice. Palden Dorje or Buddha Boy, a young religious leader, plans to bless the devotees ahead of the event with the aim to stop animal sacrifice. For those who can stomach a documentary on the sacrifice itself, go to Flixya (part 1 & part 2).



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