Hey Look! They Are Butchering A Goat! (Not For The Squeamish)

ImageWalking on the outskirts of Baracoa, the town built on the site of Columbus’ landing on Cuba,

we caught site of a goat being butchered.  Naturally, I wanted photos.  We ended up getting a

much more profound glimpse of Cuban culture than we expected.  As I was photographing

the butchers, Jane was escorted over to the door of the house.  “Dave!  Come here!”, she said.

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Inside we found a shrine set up, blood all over the floor, and a Santeria priest passing around

a bottle of rum.  We stepped inside.  I had a swig of rum.  Jane passed.  Then the drumming,

chanting and dancing began.  We had stumbled upon a gratitude ceremony.

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Evidently one of the participants had prayed for and received something, and the sacrifice of the goat

and subsequent celebratory ritual and feast were thanks given to the appropriate deity.

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We didn’t stay very long, but in retrospect I wish we had.  I would like to have better understood

what was going on, and I would have bought them another goat to thank them for including us.

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