Thursday, 16 September 2010

WSJ Photo Journal: Kapparot

Photo © Ariel Schalit/Associated Press-All Rights Reserved

The Wall Street Photo Journal featured the above photograph of a an ultra-Orthodox Jewish mother holding a hen that was later slaughtered for the Kaparot ritual. Some Jews believe their sins can be transferred to the chicken (or roosters) during the ritual, which comes before Yom Kippur.

Kaparot is performed by grasping the bird (hen for women, roosters for men) and moving it around one's head three times, symbolically transferring one's sins to the object. The bird is then slaughtered or donated to the poor.

Many religious traditions have more or less the same rituals, including Islam with its prescribed animal sacrifice during Eid ul-Adha, when the meat is partially donated to the needy.

Understandably, the little girl doesn't look very pleased at the prospect of the hen being killed.