Monday, June 14, 2010

Father dangles baby son above crocodile's jaws during religious festival

There is method in his madness, for he is a Sheedi devotee seeking blessings for his five-month-old son.
The terrifying event is part of an annual spiritual festival in Karachi, which sees a community of African-descended Pakistanis appease the crocodile – which is regarded as sacred.
Don't slip! A Sheedi devotee seeks blessings for his five-month-old son while holding him over a crocodile at the Manghopir shrine in Karachi today
Dinner time: Offerings of fresh goat meat are also made to the reptiles, who are regarded as sacred

During the Sheedi Mela, devotees make pledges to a shrine for the reptiles and then head for the water to offer them fresh goat meat. 
Acceptance of the meat is regarded as a sign of luck and property and the faithful believe the beasts won’t attack because they are the disciples of the saint, Khwaja Hasan. 
The festival begins with a procession of girls who carry dishes of meats and sweets to the crocodile shrine, while Sheedi elders offer prayers and devotees dance in bare feet.

Crocodiles are so revered in the community that they are buried with the same respect as human beings. The animals are bathed ans wrapped in burial shrouds before being buried in a specially designed graveyard.

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