November 10, 2012

Hari Ragat:Sacrifices

Vijadesans frequently make offerings to the gods and spirits, both on their festival days and also whenever they have a petition or need to appease an angered being. Fruits and flowers may suffice for minor spirits and minor occasions, but for more important events and requests, animal sacrifices are preferred, the more valuable the animal the better.

The sacrificial animal must always be a domestic animal of some sort. Wild animals are already property of the gods, and since they represent no value to the sacrificer – you only had to go out and catch it, as opposed to having raised and fattened a sacrificial buffalo for years – a wild animal sacrifice is considered niggardly. No Vijadesan dares let the gods or ancestors think he’s being cheap!

Anyone may perform a sacrifice, but a professional babaylan or katalo shaman is more likely to be successful at gaining the desired favor, specially if the sacrifice is to appease an offended spirit. Large animals are usually speared to death, while smaller ones like chickens are bled wth knives. After the sacrifice, the meat is usually shared out for eating, with a choice cut always going to the officiating shaman as part of the shaman’s fee.

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