Sociology Index


Ritual human and non-human sacrifices are practiced by numerous religions even today. Animal sacrifice is a crime. But it is still common tradition. In Japan, they slaughter dolphins; In the Faroe Islands, they sacrifice whales. In Assam in India human sacrifice is still prevalent. Gadhimai Mela, a 265 years old festival, takes place every five years in southern Nepal. Sacrificing over 500,000 in just two days, Gadhimai is the largest animal sacrificing event in the world.

Sacrifice is the offering of material possessions or the lives of animals or humans to a deity as an act of propitiation or worship. Evidence of ritual animal sacrifice has been seen at least since ancient Hebrew and Greeks. Evidence of ritual human sacrifice can also be found back to at least pre-Columbian civilizations of Mesoamerica as well as in European civilizations.

Worshippers climb Mount Bromo to throw offerings into the active volcano. The offerings are made as part of the annual Yadnya Kasada festival. The practice dates back to a 15-century legend. Thousands of locals climbed Mount Bromo - one of Indonesia's most active volcanos - to perform a centuries-old sacrificial ritual, which involves livestock, according to AFP.

Members of the Tengger tribe gather on Mount Bromo from the surrounding highlands as part of the annual Hindu festival Yadnya Kasada and cast livestock such as chickens and goats and rice, fruit, and other items into the smoking crater as offerings to Hindu Gods.

The legend says the Hindu gods granted a royal couple 24 children after years of struggling to conceive but on the provision that their 25th child must be thrown into the volcano as a sacrifice. The tradition of throwing sacrifices into the volcano to appease Hindu Gods continues today, but locals offer up their harvest instead of humans.

"I brought these crops so that my fields will be fertile and I have a good harvest," one worshipper told AFP. "I come here every year."

Locals who are not members of the Tengger tribe can be seen standing inside the volcano's crater, attempting to catch the offerings with nets before they descend into the active pit. Though not an official part of the Yadnya Kasada festival, it is to ensure the offerings aren't wasted. Yadnya Kasada festival has become a tourist-friendly attraction, the traditional rituals are now accompanied by visual art and musical performances.