Sep 29, 2011 – Today is the first day of Dashain. Hindus start to do the ritually prescribed things. Today they plant barley seeds. Others will wait a few more days.
The part everyone looks forward to is feasting. Huge numbers of animals will be ritually sacrificed then eaten. It is projected that only 15-20% of the necessary goats will be of Nepali origin this year. The remaining 80%+ will be imported from India. Ideally one should sacrifice a buffalo but most people cannot afford that. A goat is next best. If you can’t afford a goat, a chicken is OK. For the last few days chicken trucks have been coming in to Kathmandu. Men walk along the streets carrying a chicken casually suspended from where its wings are attached to its back. Most of the birds look alert and surprisingly calm.
The latest version I’ve read of why buffaloes should be sacrificed goes like this: Once upon a time all the Gods and Goddesses were being bothered by demons. None had enough power to defeat them. At last all the deities began to dance. They danced with such vigor that great clouds of dust arose. At that moment Goddess Kali manifested from a lock of Lord Shiva’s hair (he is the member of the Hindu trinity who is responsible for destruction and creation; Kali handles just destruction). Kali was immediately covered with dust particles energized by the deities’ dancing. She gained all that power and had enough to kill the demons’ vehicles, which were buffaloes. The demons fell to the ground where they were easier to kill. Therefore, we should kill buffaloes on this date to commemorate Kali’s triumph.