In the article below, you can read about the 9 of the most sacred animals on the planet and in which religions are they worshipped. Delve into the fascinating tales of how and why certain animals are held in such high regard by some cultures.
The Act of Zoolatry
Animal worship, or Zoolatry for short, refers to a set of rituals or animal sacrifices performed by certain cultures.
When a god is represented by an animal and worshipped as such, an animal cult is established. Animal cults are classified into two categories, namely its internal meaning, or outwards appearance.
The reverence of worshipping sacred animals, can be tied back to a relation with a certain deity. Most sacred animals are not reflective of the animal itself, but rather the god it represents.
It is believed that deities manifest themselves in the form of sacred animals, either by reincarnation or an epiphany.
The Confucian Perspective on Sacred Animals
In an article published by Kenyon.edu, the educational institution published a response to scholar Rodney Taylor’s paper on the relation of animals to humans in a conceptualized manner in the ethico-political and socio-political spheres. It makes for a fascinating read indeed!
A List of the most sacred animals around the world – for the Fun of it!
The domesticated feline is one of the most sacred animals in Egypt. The people of ancient Egypt worship the cat’s ability to control snakes and vermin made them a symbol of poise and grace.
National Geographic stated in an article that cats ruled in ancient Egypt.
Egyptians believed cats were mystical animals, with the capability of bringing good luck to the individuals who housed them. To glorify these treasured pets, wealthy families adorned them in jewels and fed them food fit for royalty. When the felines died, they were mummified.
You might be surprised to learn that dogs also had a special place in this country. But cats took the spot as the favorites – so nothing has changed over the centuries…hahahaha!
A cow is held in high regard and is constituted as being one of the most sacred animals in Hinduism, Jainism, and Zoroastrianism. In Hinduism alone deities like Lord Shiva whose steed was a bull called Nandi, cows are honored in sacricity by having statutes erected in their reverence.
The Hindus do not consider the cow to be a god and thus they are not worshipped. However, the majority of the Hindu culture are vegetarians, and they view the cow to be a sacricity symbol of life that should be protected and revered.
Dogs, man’s best friend, is also worshiped during the Kukur Tihar festival in few parts of Nepal. In Hindu culture, Lord Dattatreya is depicted with four dogs, and these dogs represent the four Vedas (Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda, and Atharva-Veda) and Mother Earth.
When it comes to Greek Gods and dogs as sacred animals, Greek mythology reveres in a three-headed dog, named Hydra. Hydra is said to keep a vigil at the gates of heaven and hell.
The canine, being a symbol of both alertness and vigilance, also represents the three levels of physical sound. The dog is also capable of great affection and compassion, which goes far beyond the understanding of humans.
It is said that nurturing these characteristics will help us go beyond our physical and bodily limitations to finally embrace the Absolute Truth.
All over southern India, the majestic elephants are worshipped in the temples. The Hindu mythology even has a deity called Ganesha- the Elephant God.
The Hindu Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with all the bells and whistles, especially in Maharashtra in India. In this culture, elephants are representative of admirable characteristics such as valor, wisdom, and courage.
The goat is one of the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac. The goat has also been worshipped in Greek and Egyptian mythology.
The two Greek mythological creatures called Silenus and Satyr both had a goat-like shape. The Greek Gods, called ‘Fauns’ were said to be half-goat and half-human.
The temple of Karnak in Egypt has ram-shaped sphinxes.
In Hinduism, monkeys are regarded as culturally significant. The highly revered monkey god Hanuman is widely worshipped throughout India.
There is a temple in The Valley of Nepal, in the Kathmandu region, called the Swayambhunath temple. This is widely regarded as the ‘Monkey Temple’. Monkeys enjoy a high status here and are regarded as sacred.
The people of ancient Egypt regarded pigs as sacred and as an important deity. Their deity appeared as a pig with erect bristles who kept an eye on storms, chaos, deserts, and darkness.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to own a pet pig? Do some worshipping of your own, when you read our article with everything that you need to know when owning a pet pig.
Serpent deities have an important place in Indian culture. During ‘Nag Panchami’, Hindus worship the serpent deities and offer their prayers and warm milk.
According to Korean folklore, the majestic tiger is regarded as the guardian of the West and is also a divine spirit. They are symbolic of power and courage and are believed to ward off evil and bring about good luck.
Info source: “12 Most Sacred and Worshiped Animals Around the World“.