Samaritan Passover 2006

Mt Gerizim is the site of the ancient Samaritan temple. Here we look from Mt Gerizim south, generally toward Jerusalem. (I'm not sure what the ruins here are.) (107kb) A really big staircase; part of the temple complex. And on top, the ruins of... a church. (From a much later time than the Samaritan temple.)  The circular structure in the middle was the sanctuary. P1010464.JPG (126kb) Looking roughly NW from the temple, we see modern outlying villages. There is also Jacob's Well (quite possibly the correct site of John 4:6), though too small to note here. Looking north, we see Mt Ebal, across the narrow valley.
Looking a bit NW, we see Mt Ebal with the upper reaches of the modern city of Shechem. Now looking west, there is the modern Samaritan village. Note the row of parked busses, left of center. Just to the right of that, we see... ...the location of the Passover ceremony. Complete with a nice fence to keep the tourists at bay, and a grandstand to give them a place to sit. I think the guys in green are extra important. P1010485.JPG (84kb)
A touch of the modern, in the ceremonies. P1010487.JPG (90kb) Like a lamb to the slaughter. Samaritan worshippers, tourists, soldiers. Orchestrated chanting. Apparently, there is room to smile.
P1010497.JPG (87kb) P1010500.JPG (50kb) Some younger attendees get elevated vantage points. Blood on the forehead, for all! Now I've moved to the opposite side (note the grandstand in the back). Here are the roasting pits. It's a bit hot, son, but juuust right to warm your feet.
The first part of the sacrifice arrives, to be put in the flames. Actually, it gets hung over the flames. And burns. P1010534.JPG (64kb) P1010535.JPG (54kb) A news crew from the Russian language TV channel.
Momentarily, let's jump back in time so you can see where I went next.  See the roof at upper left?  That's where I took this next... ...view of the grounds.  See all those vertical poles, held by the Samaritans (top right)?  What are they for? The butchering process continues. And now we see what the poles are for.  (Also provides a nice photo opp.) Hose it down a little. I don't know about you, but I think the butchering leftovers look awful.
So let's take a closer look. (Now from inside the grounds.) Yep. Offal. Hmmm, I wonder what that trench is for? Lots of poles, lots of sheep.  Sadly, my bus left before the roasting started. I'm told they are put down into the pits, supported by metal grates over the top. Where'd Bah-ah-ahb go?  Everyone liked him.  He was so... so... perfect.  

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