wondered what the word 'sacrifice' meant? The word 'sacrifice' comes
from the Latin noun "sacrificium" and the verb "sacrificare" which
mean "to make something sacred by giving it to a god." In the article
on the importance of a god, we know that the people of the past
made many sacrifices, be it human or animal, to their gods, which
may seem cruel and shocking to many people. That brings us to the
big question: Why is there a need for sacrifice??
the Aryans of ancient India, sacrifices (yajnas) based on fire were
given to the gods to gain divine favour for wealth and power and
to help maintain the cosmic balance 'rita' - demons sought to destroy
the perfect balance. They also believed that giving sacrifices of
animals to the gods would please the gods and there might therefore,
be an increase in cattle, food, prosperity and victory in war.
Maya believed that offering sacrifice to the gods was one way in
which they could connect with the world of the supernatural. The
sacrifice offered ranged from simple offerings of food to human
sacrifices. However, sacrifice was made not only for the gods. When
a new king ascended the throne or a building was dedicated, human
sacrifice was essential to mark the occasion. These human sacrifices
were usually prisoners-of-war. The Maya believed that even the gods
sacrificed themselves so as to create the world that we live in
the Aryans, the Greeks sacrificed animals as offerings to the gods,
in hope that they would be rewarded by them. Animal sacrifices were
burned, as the Greeks believed that the animals' flesh would turn
into smoke, which would then ascend to the heavens where the gods
lived. These sacrifices were made during the day or night. Sacrifices
made in the day, usually in the morning, were made to honour the
friendly gods. They involved burning certain parts of the animal,
of which the unburnt parts were eaten. After the sacrifices were
made, the people danced and sang.
made at night involved instead, the burning of the whole animal.
Sacrifices made at night were made to keep the gods happy and prevent
any misfortunes in the lives of the people. The Greeks were afraid
that they would anger the gods if the give the gods what they wanted
and there would be havoc in the country.
in the above examples, we can tell generally that sacrifices were
made to please the gods so that the people could enjoy peace and
prosperity. In today's society then, do people still offer sacrifices
to the god/gods they worship? For what purposes? On deeper thought,
would it seem to you that the people of today have a different concept
of the term 'sacrifice', in that they 'sacrifice themselves' (their
time, their money etc) for their loved ones instead?
examples of animals that were used in the religious sacrifices