In October, 2019, ARM’s undercover operatives travelled to the outskirts of Nepal to further document the annual Dashain Festival. Traditionally known as Mwohni, Dashain honors the goddess, Durga, and her various manifestations during this sacred time. It is celebrated by both Hindus and Buddhist Newars (with slight interpretations of the ceremonies).
Dashain is the longest and most anticipated festival that takes place over fifteen days in Nepal, and even enforces the closure of all government offices, educational institutions and many businesses in its honor.
In 2015 ARM initiated its investigations at Dashain. Click here to learn more about Dashain as well as our 2015 operation.
ARM returned in 2019 to document any changes that have occurred since the last operation.
During Dashain 2019, thousands of animals including buffalo, goats and pigeons, were sacrificed brutally by worshippers over the entire festival. On the three most prominent sacrifice days that ARM attended, an estimated 14,761 goats were beheaded and sacrificed as an offering to Goddess Durga. In addition to this shocking number, hundreds of buffalo, pigeons and ducks were also slaughtered during during these ceremony days. According to Nepal tradition, it is believed that those who make an offering of an animal in the festival will be granted a wide variety of blessings, including fertility or ensuring tradesmen safety from accidents and success.
However, controversy is starting to formulate amongst the people. At this years festival, ARM interviewed many of the worshippers, amongst them the younger generation. It was expressed that whilst Dashain is a centuries old tradition, people would not be opposed to amending the animal slaughter in lieu of more peaceful offerings. Youths stated that what they witnessed is animal cruelty and in their opinion, not necessary.
Although animal sacrifice occurs on a regular basis throughout Nepal, and that it is stigmatic that the older generations believe that by not sacrificing animals they will make their gods angry, there is hope for change of animal welfare polices (related to animal sacrifice ceremonies ), in Nepal.
ARM will continue its plight to bring forth awareness on this horrific form of animal cruelty and work towards encouraging the people and priests of Nepal to adopt more compassionate and ‘animal free’ offerings to their gods.
A full length video will be coming soon on ARM’s complete findings that were captured whilst at Dashain 2019.