smells of blood

hari raya idul adha / idul kurban


Today was the second largest holiday in the Indonesian Islamic year: Idul Adha or Idul Kurban. It is a time for Muslim folks to give charity to everyone in the community, especially those in need. This is done by slaughtering a whole bunch of animals—mostly goats and cows—and dividing the meat amongst the homes in the village. The celebrations began a few days ago with fasts and last night’s tak biran parade of school children with bamboo torches and traditional drums marked the eve of the hari raya.

I woke up this morning at 4:30 to watch the sunrise and went to mosque at 6:00 with my host parents for the holiday prayer. I stayed for about an hour as prayers were said, greeting some of my friends and neighbors and meeting some new folks. Everybody said that a few goats would be killed at the mosque next to Pak Lurah’s house directly after prayers, so I decided to mandi and head over there in hopes of seeing some of the men at work.

Luckily—unluckily?—by the time I got to the masjid the three goats had already been killed. The men were beginning to skin the carcasses, which hung from ladders and bamboo with ropes and makeshift wooden dollies. The goats were efficiently skinned and gutted by the dozen or so men as a few kids and I looked on. The whole thing was less gruesome than I’d imagined; I have seen a cow go through the same process at a wedding preparation once at my neighbor’s house. The only bad thing was the smell of the blood.

Of course, every part of the animal is used. The skin is tanned for drumheads, the head is made into soup, and even the intestines are eaten (they were opened and cleaned out in the stream in front of mosque, adding to the unsavory odor in the air).

Everyone was excited to have me there to snap pictures, proud to show their skills:

I’m slightly anxious about the cow slaughtering that’s happening at school tomorrow; though I’ve seen dead animals being skinned and cleaned, I’ve only ever seen chickens killed.


Cow slaughtering was fine. Pictures from the past few days below: tak biran, mosque time, goats on Idul Adha, cow/goat slaughtering at school.

Sorry for the lack of organization: WordPress is confusing and I am impatient. Enjoy!

Warning: Some of these are very graphic. Don’t enlarge a photo if you think it looks nasty, because it will only look nastier (I’m not talking about the cute pictures of little girls, either! I’m serious!). That being said, the pictures are supremely interesting and worth a look if you don’t mind getting a little queasy. Take your time and look through them all if you can! xo.



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