Disappearing Tradition of Buying and Selling Meat in Nepal

Traditional Way of Selling Meat in Nepal

In this disappearing tradition of butchery people share the meat of any animal with the whole village. Such system is mostly found in rural villages of Nepal.

They eat the meat first and pay the money in a month’s time.

“Everyone gets to eat the meat, even if they don’t have any money.”

It builds Trust, Care, Respect and Support in community.

Meat is a delicacy and considered as one of the main foods during any celebrations (Festival or Puja or Anniversary) in Nepal.

Even today, It’s okay to not have cake on birthdays but meat should be cooked to celebrate.

And these days, it’s easy to buy meat. You can go to the nearest meat shop and buy any amount you need or can pay for. 

But it was not that easy just a couple of centuries back in Nepal. The meat shops were rare and only in city areas.

How people used to get meat in rural villages of Nepal?

And people in rural villages used to keep domestic birds (like duck, hen and pigeons) and animals (goat, sheep, pig, buffalo, etc.) for meat. So they had to raise those birds and animals from young ones to fully grow up and be ready to be consumed. 

It used to take lots of time, feeding and protection from wild animals and diseases.

And most of the people only used to consume or eat meat during auspicious occasions (festivals, celebrations, etc.).

But by any case if you don’t have your own animals. And don’t have any money then you may not get any meat.

Also the meat of animals like Buffalo, Pig, Goat, Sheep, etc. are considered special delicacies in different ethnicities/communities like Gurung, Newar, Magar, Brahmin, etc.

But the meat of whole animals like these couldn’t be consumed by a single family and a family who wants to eat the meat but doesn’t have their own couldn’t afford to buy the whole animal.

And there were not any shops to sell the meat during that time.

So, to make meat available to everyone during festivals and other auspicious occasions, people created a system.

Read >> Almost Forgotten Gurung Heritage Trail

How do people in rural villages of Nepal buy and sell meat?

In this system, few trusted people of the village would search an animal (Buffalo or Pig or Goat) and talk with the family who is willing to sell the animal.

These people are called Jamani.

And these trusted people (Jamani) would be the guarantors and promise the selling family that they will pay the amount for the animal in a month’s time.

Then the animal is taken to the feasible location (where water is available, and people can easily come to pick the meat).

And to cut the animal and cut the meat into smaller pieces, all the people from the village comes and helps.

The blood and some amount of intestine is cooked and eaten while working in the spot.

Then the meat is divided in smaller portions.

Elderly Man Butchering Meat in Nepal
Elderly Man Butchering Meat in Nepal

How meat is divided into smaller portions?

If the cost of the animal was, let’s say 50,000 Rupees then the meat is divided into 50 portions, each one costing 1,000 Rupees.

And each portion contains meat from all parts of the butchered animal.

Then the meat is distributed among the villages. First the meat is distributed to each villager, then the remaining amount can be bought by someone who needs more.

If a man wants and can pay worth of 20,000 rupees, he can’t buy the whole meat by himself. First the meat should be shared with all the people who need it. Then only the remaining amount is sold to the ones who need more.

This way everyone gets to eat the meat, no matter how small or big portion he/she needs.

And the guarantor gets a portion of the meat for FREE.

But if someone in the village couldn’t get the meat, then he also has to share his portion also.

With the meat,every villager can celebrate the festival or any auspicious occasion and pay the money later in a month’s time.

In a month, the guarantor collects money from everyone and pays back to the family who sold the animal.

So this old system of butchery or buying and selling the meat in rural villages of Nepal is really amazing. And it builds strong trust, care and support among each other in a community.

And these things are the characteristics of a peace and prosperous community.

Traditional Style of Selling Meat in Rural Villages of Nepal - Disappearing Tradition in Nepal
Meat divided into smaller portions

Why is this tradition of Buying and Selling Meat disappearing?

But this system has slowly been disappearing and forgotten.

And the reason for this is urbanization, migration and leaving the traditions of keeping domestic animals.

These days many villages have converted into smaller towns and cities. And every tole, chowks and bazaars have at least one meat shop. So it’s easier to get the meat at any time and any amount, as long as you can pay for it on the spot.

Also the people from the villages are moving to cities in search of better jobs, education  and other opportunities. And very few people reside in the rural areas. 

And the people who are still in villages are either old or childrens. So, the people also have stopped keeping animals (buffalo, goats, etc.) for Food.

Because keeping animals means hard work. And people today want to work only if it’s easy.

So, In my opinion, the lack of such animals, migration of people and increasing food dependency in the shops of cities are the reason for this and other many old traditions being forgotten.

What do you think? Let me know in the comment below.

Thank you so much for reading the article till the last.

(This article is based on my personal experience on my village – Khasrang, Tanahun, Nepal)

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