Saturday, January 26, 2008

Becoming a man

Two days ago we attended attended a Bratabandha celebration. This is when a young boy becomes a young man. This family, who is particularly well off, had an especially elaborate celebration for their twin boys. The ceremony started with a ritualistic shaving of their heads and trimming of their toe nails.

Next, their grandfather (in the vest) along with a Hindu priest performed a series of rituals one of which involved the boys removing their clothes and putting on a loin cloth. Bad enough to have your hoo-ha out in front of strangers, but it was reasonably cold there (it reminds me of the Seinfield episode when George screams "I was in the pool!").

The boys got new suits and hats which they put on.
We walked to the temple along with the band that the family had hired.
Astrologers pick the actual day for the ceremony. Consequently, there were a lot of people celebrating. Where there are a lot of people celebrating there are a lot of dead goats. Some guy ran into me while were waiting. As I was getting ready to get upset, I realized he was jumping out of the way of a freshly slaughtered goat who was rudely shooting his blood out of his neck as he was being rushed to the temple. The buffalo who who was still breathing despite his head being removed made me feel like becoming a vegetarian.
Slaughtering an animal is important, but slaughtering 5 is particularly auspicious. Because the family we were with was well off, they slaughtered a buffalo, goat, sheep, duck, chicken. Thankfully, I was called away and Sandy was on her own for the rest of the ceremony because I am not sure I could have enjoyed all the food which was served. As you can see, Sandy was quite excited by the whole ceremony (could be that she likes looking like a giant).
I can not say that the slaughtering is is not really gross (it definitely is), but we feel really lucky to be part of these ceremonies because they teach us so much about the society.

No comments: