“Grab your chickens by the neck and swing them round, round the deck!” These are not real lyrics to a real song, though I don’t see why they shouldn’t be. Today I witnessed my first chicken slaughter and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was downright disturbing. Seven brave, oblivious chickens sacrificed their simple lives, so that my host family and I could enjoy ours. I salut you, chickens!
There was a selmatan (a party of sorts) held at my house this evening that brought family from the far reaches of…the neighborhood. I thought my last host family lived close to one another, but this entire village is crawling with saudara (family). Much like my previous situation, I don’t know who’s who, who does what or who lives where, but I’m told that they’re all family and that’ll suffice.
Back to the chicken slaughter. If you aren’t used to it, it’s unsettling to see where
your food really comes from. I used to catch, clean and eat fish when I was younger and never had a problem with it. In fact, my father occasionally reminds me how I used to play with fish eyeballs as a child, as if they were a marbles. We won’t even mention all the critters I “hunted” as a youth. Watching a mammal get sliced and diced now seemed a little closer to home though.
WIth all my hippie talk, I should also disclose that I’ve had more than a few chicken fingers in my time, and a lot of other tasty chicken (deer, squirrel, moose, cow, alligator, whale, etc.) bits, but after seeing what I saw today, I’m considering readopting my “Count Chocula” diet of yesteryear. Then again, for all I know, there are chicken by-products in there too. Or a bit of bat tongue even? Oh well, I suppose I have to eat something and at least nothing was wasted…and I mean NOTHING. I’ve never seen a group of people get more meat off a chicken bone in my life!
The festivities began with calm, composed Arabic prayers (interesting) and ended up in a finger lick’n frenzy (scary)! Before I was aloud to join the party though, I was told the change my attire, which I did ,reluctantly; hence the hat. Predictably, I was the last one left on the mat, solidifying my reputation as the slowest easter in East Java.