Korban


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StreetShooter

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WARNING: THIS IS A BANDWIDTH INTENSIVE THREAD, AND ALSO CONTAINS PICTURES WHICH SOME PEOPLE MIGHT FIND OFFENSIVE (BLOOD AND GORE). IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO VIEW SUCH PICTURES, PLEASE STOP NOW AND HIT THE BACK BUTTON.

Today is Hari Raya Haji, when Muslims celebrate the Haj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. It is also known as Hari Raya Korban, because it is when Muslims carry out the sacrificial slaughter of sheep and other animals to express gratitude to Allah (Korban means "sacrifice to God"). I am told that it also commemorates the time when Abraham (or Ibrahim) was told to sacrifice his son, and he prepared to do so obediently, until God intervened and provided a ram to be slaughtered instead.

 

StreetShooter

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I was fortunate to catch the last sheep of the day being slaughtered. When I arrived at about lunchtime, most of the other sheep had been slaughtered and were being butchered, except for this last one who was still in the sheep pen (but not for long).



 

StreetShooter

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After being caught and carried by the young men to the slaughter area, the sheep was held down to be slaughtered.



I am told that the usual procedure is for the person offering the sacrifice (ie the one who paid for the sheep) to put his hand on the sheep while a professional does the actual slaughtering.

In this case it seems that the person who is offering the sacrifice opted to do the slaughtering himself.

The guy in the green cap appears to be the professional slaughterer, and he is giving instructions to the person offering the sacrifice.



Finally the knife is put to the throat and, with a sawing action, it is sliced open.

 

StreetShooter

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Once the jugular vein has been cut, the knife is withdrawn, and the neck is massaged to drain the blood out of the body as quickly as possible. The young men must have been holding the sheep down very tightly, because I saw hardly any struggling going on.



The guy in the red tie and yellow cap appears to be some sort of official coroner to certify that the sheep is dead. Or maybe he is one of the religious leaders.
 

StreetShooter

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One thing I should mention is that when the knife was applied to the throat, the entire crowd broke out into a chant ("Allah Hu Akbar") and in unison. It certainly added to the atmosphere. Scary, or solemn and moving, depending on which side you're on.

The person offering the sacrifice appeared somewhat shaken. Must be his first time. He is being reassured by the official that he did well.



The slaughter area is then cleaned, the blood being washed down into the drain.



A prayer is offered using the megaphone, and everyone (well, almost everyone - not the kid perhaps) prays along with upraised hands.

 

StreetShooter

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The animals are brought to a butchering area, where they are first hung up to be skinned. This guy works with the precision of a surgeon.



Here is a closeup of the skinning process:



Once the skin is removed, the entrails are also extracted.

 

StreetShooter

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Then the butchers go to work chopping up the meat, from a yawning carcass to succulent lamb chops or mutton curry.





Apparently, the family offering the sacrifice has the option of keeping half the meat, while the other half goes to charity. However, many families offer the entire sheep to charity.
 

StreetShooter

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The butchering can be pretty intense work, by some rather intense-looking gentlemen.



I tried to get the vigorous chopping movement in this shot, by using a slow shutter speed. Am I thinking enough, Jed? Notice the guy in green sitting in the background. More on him later.
 

StreetShooter

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This guy may have seen too much blood for one day. During the half hour I was there taking pictures, he was sitting in that chair, unchanged position, for most of the time.

 

StreetShooter

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Not everyone was shell-shocked, though. A couple of butchers were indulging in some (rather dangerous) horseplay. They've probably never been to A&E before, where fingers are brought in separately in plastic bags filled with ice.

 

StreetShooter

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Thanks. All pictures taken with 28-135 IS USM. This is where you NEED a zoom. Absolutely no chance to use a prime - no time to change lenses.

Hope the server I'm using is fast enough for overseas users as well. It will have to do until I'm allowed to buy some web space on Clubsnap *hint hint*.
 

Edmund

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Brilliant work!!! :thumbsup:

Can we have this as one of the Photo Journalistic articles for our future Photo Journal sections on the main site? ;)
 

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