Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Maylah

We were staying with a family in Ridicot for a big annual festival. We never really understood exactly what was being celebrated. The only snippet of explanation we got was that a king demanded food taxes long ago.
The celebration consisted of all the villages in the area bringing a male water buffalo to sacrifice. The bulls are painted and festooned and surrounded by teenage and twenty-something boys prodding them down the trail. Each bull team brings a "cutter" with them who wields a sharp scythe.
From miles and miles, the bulls are driven to an appointed area in the mountains of terraced fields, some of them collapse along the way and the boys beat them with sticks to goad them on. 
The execution site is full of people in their best saris and clothes. Food tents and other carnival fare set up. The treats for sale are oranges, peanuts & fried sugar.
At a seemingly random time, the boys all burst into a frenzied chase of the bulls, and the cutters then hack off the bulls heads.
It's a very colorful gory chaos. Kind of a Hindi "Lord of the Flies." The vegetarian we ha with us had harsher words.

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