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Cambodia mourns 'holy cow'

Written By vibykhmer on Saturday, August 22, 2009 | 12:14 AM



Thu, 20 Aug 2009

Hundreds of Cambodians on Thursday began a ceremony for the death of a "holy cow" whose spit could supposedly cure several illnesses, local officials said.

The mystical calf, which reportedly had unusual skin that looked like crocodile hide, was born on Tuesday and died earlier onThursday in northern Pursat province, village chief Sok Mim said.

He said around 100 villagers gathered at the house of the cow's owner for a three-day memorial ceremony.

"A lot of people have flocked to the ceremony. They offered money and lit incense sticks before the cow to pray for it to be reborn and live a longer life," said Sok Mim.

"The cow looked strange. Its legs have signs like carved arts, and its skin is like a crocodile's skin. Old people believe that the cow is holy," Sok Mim said.

"Some people used the spit from the cow's mouth to cure their toothache and other illness. They said they recovered from aches afterwards," Sok Mim added.

A local police official said villagers believed the cow had mystical powers because there had been a lot of rain in the drought-hit village after its birth.

Cambodians are highly superstitious, particularly in the countryside where people continue to meld animist practices with Buddhism.

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