A bull at a Jal Yatra procession in Ahmedabad, India on 17 June, 2019.
  • The death of Babuji the bull has sent an entire Indian village into days of mourning.
  • Around 3,000 villagers held a grand death feast for Babuji on Saturday, as well as funeral rites and social ceremonies, reported The Times of India.
  • Babuji was considered by some in the village to be the incarnation of a Hindu guardian deity called Nandi.
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Ceremonial rites, cremation, and a grand feast for thousands of people - a village in India has pulled out the works for the funeral of a beloved bull that lived with them for 20 years, reported The Times of India.

Babuji the bull died of natural causes on August 15, and the village of Kurdi, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, has been commemorating his death over the last week, honoring the animal as they would a village elder, per The Times.

It reported that on Saturday, around 3,000 people attended Babuji's death feast - called a terahvi - where priests chanted for his soul, and a photo shrine of the bull was showered with cash and flowers.

Village residents told The Times that Babuji was almost like a family member to them, and was considered a "gift from the divine." The bull was also found roaming a village holy site when he was young, prompting some to call him Nandi, a Hindu guardian deity usually depicted as a bull.

In the days before the death feast, the villagers conducted religious rites and mourning ceremonies for Babuji, including cremation and a rasam pagri, which is a funeral ceremony for the death of the eldest male in a family, added The Times.

Cows are considered sacred in many parts of India, and most states forbid cow slaughter or the eating of beef. One state, Madhya Pradesh, has even set up a "cow cabinet" to look after the welfare of the animals. In May, several men covered themselves in cow dung and urine under the belief that it would improve their immunity against Covid-19. Doctors have since warned against the practice, saying there was no scientific evidence to support it.

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