Monday, September 20, 2010

Chicken swinging is way better than confessional


It was Yom Kipur, the Day of Atonement, on Saturday and I repented. Not really. I fasted and that sucked. And I wished I'd had some time while I was fasting to examine my life and talk to God. Or at least take a nap. But parenting duties continue on Yom Kipur so my guess is the next 8-10 Yom Kipurs are going to suck the big winkie. 

Leading up to Yom Kipur I tried to read a few stories and get the kids to understand this whole idea about repentance and forgiveness which I boiled down to feel bad and say sorry.  A little of that might have sunk in. Or not. My daughter was unusually bristly it turns out. She told each member of her family that she didn't like us and that she wasn't our friend anymore. But since she couldn't say Yom Kipur and instead called it Yom Kipod which means Porcupine Day it seemed to make perfect sense.

We did start a new family tradition this year to try and give the kids something to remember for next year. There's custom called Kapparot which literally means atonements. And traditionally you swing a live chicken over your head three times (I'm not making this up), recite a blessing to transfer your transgressions to the dizzy chicken and then you kill the chicken thereby eliminating your sins. You can read all about it here. Apparently only ultra religious communities still do this and under strong opposition by animal rights groups.

We didn't slaughter a live chicken for the obvious reasons. We did take stuffed animal chickens, whispered our sins and secrets to them, tied a shoelace around one wing and flung them around for a while. And then I took my daughter, dressed her up like a chicken, told her I was sorry for all of the yelling and mean things I've said and swung her around too! Meanwhile my husband was making a delicious lentil salad, chocolate banana bread and fresh lemonade to bring to my brother's house where we broke our fast in the most gluttonous way possible. We can atone for that next year.


Swinging live chicken


  1. You are sooooooooooo creative. Just blows my mind. Who woulda thunk those pillow chickens would serve to cast ones sins on?

  2. You should tell your friend who made those chickens to use Yom Kippur as a special sale time for Kapparot chickens. Then one could donate the purged chickens to charity, or something like that. Get rid of your sins and give to charity. Loved the idea of swinging the chicken dolls - and Yom Kipod. Gadol!!

  3. that sounds WAY better than holing yourself up in a dark booth with an old guy!

  4. My gosh! This is really good stuff. Made me smile (and I really needed that today). Thanks

  5. you are unbelievably wonderful and amazing! ( i love your take on that bizarre tradition)
    it would be sweet if all little chickens were lucky enough to be treated so dearly.

  6. I LOVE hearing/learning about all of your traditions. My fav blog post of your is still the one able your brother dressing up, and your kids being scared to death of him.

    I'd like to swing our rooster that won't shut up around a few times.

    And uh, suck the big winkie? I'm gonna start saying that ALL the time now, OK?

  7. This is why you need to get back to that project. You know, the one in which you seem to have so much REALLY INTERESTING and FUNNY stuff to share!? C'mon!

  8. I love reading of your adventures. I was laughing out loud at the visual of swinging a live chicken over your head (especially because we raise chickens . . .) Thanks for sharing your traditions. And I agree with AG - suck the big winkie is going to become a part of my everday dialogue!