Hundreds of Hindus and Buddhists are protesting against the killing of animals during the Hindu festival of Dashain.
The 15-day event, which began on 1st October, is the most important
Nepali Hindu celebration as it commemorates the god’s great victory over
wicked demons in a battle of Ramayan.
According to tradition, on the eighth, ninth and tenth day of
Dashain, each temple sacrifices hundreds of animals to pay homage to the
gods, but also to avoid their destructive wrath.
The blood of
buffaloes, oxen, sheep, goats, and birds pours down the stairs of the
This year however, the practice has come under greater criticism from
many Hindus and Buddhists who call on devotees not to make the
Rajan Pandey, 28, has demonstrated in front of the Maitidevi temple.
"The Earth is the common home of humans and animals. Slaughtering beasts
and birds in the name of tradition is unjust and Hindus must challenge
Here at the temple, he noted, "we warn all Hindu faithful and we stop
animals from being taken into the building because they too have
The Nepali Vegetarian Association, which has joined the protest,
describes such animal killing to please the gods as "black festivals".
"We carefully read all the news coming from religious leaders,” said
Gokul Sharma, the association’s spokesperson. “Pope Francis, for
example, is very serious in making appeals on behalf of the environment
and animals. Instead, we have not heard anything like that from Hindu
leaders, who have a chronic problem with their tradition. "
Karma Lama, a Buddhist leader, agrees. "Our basic idea is peace and
non-violence. For this reason, we strongly condemn the Hindu tradition
of animal slaughter."
"We take seriously such concerns,” said Narahari Nath Acharya, a
senior Hindu leader, reacting to the criticism. “However, this is our
tradition and Dashain starts with animal offerings to the god and the
divinities. We cannot stop this all at once, but we can review the
tradition in due course."
“We encourage the faithful,” he added, "to offer fresh coconuts as a
tribute to the gods, instead of killing animals. [This year,] The number
of animals killed is lower than in the past."