Nepal’s Gadhimai Festival, a Hindu celebration that takes place every five years in Bariyarpur (about 100 miles south of the capital Kathmandu) and attracts 2.5 million worshippers, will no longer allow animal slaughter. For 400 years, Nepalese and Indian attendees have sacrificed animals such as goats, chickens, and buffalo at the festival to honor Gadhimai, the Hindu goddess of power. The Gadhimai Temple Trust’s announcement is a huge step forward, but implementing the ban will require cooperation and support from worshippers at the festival. “It won’t be easy to end a 400-year-old custom … but we have four years to convince people that they don’t need to sacrifice animals to please the goddess,” Motilal Prasad, secretary of the Gadhimai Temple Trust, said. In a statement announcing the ban, chairman of the temple trust Ram Chandra Shah told future attendees that with their help, “we can ensure the festival in 2019 is free from bloodshed. Moreover, we can ensure Gadhimai 2019 is a momentous celebration of life.”
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