Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cows and Goats

While Christians prepare for Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Muslims are preparing for a different Holy day. It's called Baqri, or "cow sacrifice," but, Muslim families will also sacrifice a goat or a sheep, or some other appropriate beast. We've been hearing the bleating of a goat for days. He is tied to his gate and being fattened up. Poor guy, doesn't know what's coming. Some of the water buffalo and cows on our street have also been grazing daily. We won't know until tomorrow if one of these has been chosen to be sacrificed in the name of some family members. A special butcher will come to bleed the animal before it is cooked and eaten. Part of the meat will be distributed to the poor. Our neighborhood tent families hope to be recipients. This sacred festival is in commemoration of the ram sacrificed by Abraham in place of his son. You can read the whole story in Genesis chapter 22.
As you know, we have many Hindu neighbors as well. This morning we received a flyer pleading for people not to kill cows and bulls. "Indian cows are endangered species -please protect them from killing." It goes on to say, " Cows give us milk and cow dung which is very essential for agriculture which is the backbone of our economy. Cow is like our second Mother. Mother feeds us milk for one year, but cow feeds us throughout our life."
Living in such a spiritual country with Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhists, and others as neighbors is a different experience from living in China. Most people we knew didn't believe in anything. Many were Buddhists. You can check my archives to see some of the temples I've visited. We are learning more about this culture every day. Tomorrow is our Christmas party for the tent people. We're putting up a big tent for them because the weather has been so bad. If it stays very muddy I may have to stay home. I got both my raincoat and coat filthy dirty!

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