Armenia, July 2015
While I was traveling in Armenia, we stopped at a monastery in the middle of nowhere outside of Yerevan. There seemed to be some sort of ceremony happening inside of the church, but we couldn’t quite tell what it was. There was also a man across the courtyard from us with a chicken in a bag. How cute! That man has a chicken in a bag. What a funny thing to be carrying around.
Oh, how naive we were.
Forgetting about the chicken in a bag, we went for a walk and explored some of the caves we found in the mountainside. It was getting to be lunchtime so before heading back to our driver we stopped for a snack on the stone wall behind the church. As we’re sitting there enjoying our lunch, the man with the chicken-in-a-bag comes outside. Still naive, we watched with curiosity.
There was a groundskeeper following behind the man and his chicken-in-a-bag. They stopped a little ways in front of us, pausing over a big drain. The chicken was taken out of the bag. A large knife was presented. Oh.
I won’t describe it for you, but yes, the chicken was sacrificed. It was then placed back in the bag, and they walked back to the church, I assume to complete the sacrifice.
Lesson learned: when you see an animal at a religious site, particularly one carried in a plastic bag, it is probably not there for the petting zoo.