WARNING: Do NOT read this post if you are a child, have a weak stomach or love sheep. REALLY. I’M NOT JOKING. This interlude may have scarred Patti for life and instead of remembering the cuddly Panda’s we saw at the zoo, she’ll never forget the sheep doomed to die. That being said, it is China and as we say here, you can die fast or you can die slow. The sheep unfortunately had to go the route of the former vs. the latter.
While strolling as a group to the local wet market as part of our cooking class, little did we know we were going to witness a ritual to celebrate Eid al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice. NOOOOOOO…we thought we would pick up some ingredients for our lovely lunch and then merrily skip back to Helen’s apartment for our class. Along the way we saw the cutest sheep tied to the fence so we stopped to take some photos. It’s not often you see live animals in the streets of Shanghai, so I had to take a photo of the boy feeding the cute sheep a leaf. Little did I know that would be his last meal on Earth.
Coming out of the market, we saw a group of people with their phones out taking pictures. As we got closer, we saw that the cuddly sheep had been sacrificed and were strung up by their hooves and were being butchered right there on the street IN FRONT OF CHILDREN! While Emily, the vegetarian in our cooking class, quickly ran away screaming, I felt I had to document what was the most gruesome sight I have ever seen. If I wasn’t somewhat of a vegetarian before, I am now. Thom quickly informed me as he shot photos, that this must be the hajj faithful offering a sacrifice by slaughtering a sheep with the meat going to the needy.
In the Shanghai Daily, Thom had read an article on the festival that 1.5 billion Muslim around the world celebrate. While I respect the culture, it was shocking to see it played out in public for all to see. But that’s why I came on this adventure-to experience new and different cultures–so it was fitting that I witnessed this while still in China. Still, the sheep were so cute….