Humans, for one reason or another, can do some really terrible things in the spirit of keeping up with old traditions – and this kind of mentality is on full display when it comes to the Bulgarian rituals of dog spinning ritual. The information contained below is graphic in nature.
Dog Spinning Ritual
What exactly is the dog spinning ritual?
Each and every single year on March 6, the residents of villages in Bulgaria collect the dogs in the local community, bring them to the edge of a body of water, and then begin to suspend them over the water by ropes that have been tied around their chest and then connected to a larger rope that spans the body of water itself.
The dogs are then spun around and around and around until the rope is as tight as it can get and then the dogs are released. They spin around like helicopter blades at unbelievable speeds after the ropes have compressed their ribs, and as soon as there is no more rope for them to spin on they are dumped directly into frigid water and forced to swim back to shore. Would you imagine this scenario with a little pug puppy? do you see how terrifying is the view?
The people of Bulgaria claim that this ancient dog spinning ritual has gone on for centuries and is used to prevent rabies and ward off evil spirits. The Bulgarian government, recognizing just how downright despicable and disgusting this ritual is banned the practice completely in 2006, but there are villages throughout the country that do not enforce the law – and many of them that flout the law completely.
The ritual was established as far back as the 1860s and was designed to replace something even more sinister
The earliest recording of the dog spinning ritual traces back to 1869, when a handful of Bulgarian newspapers reported a number of villages throughout the country refusing to embrace the previous tradition of whipping and beating dogs until the rabies “left their spirit” or they died.
It’s almost impossible to conceive of now, but some progressive people in Bulgaria at that point in time were tired of seeing the dogs in their village beat within an inch of their life in an effort to ward off disease and evil spirits so they decided to appease the elders and create the process of dog spinning – a ritual that is considerably less physically violent but has left psychological scars on dogs for more than 100 years and also resulted in the deaths of thousands of dogs due to drowning because of the disorientation caused by the dog spinning ritual itself.
Designed to fall on the first day of Lent
Historians believe that both of these rituals – beating dogs until the spirits left their body and the dog spinning ritual itself – have historical roots that go all the way back to pagan origins, stretching back hundreds and hundreds of years, but now it has a different religious tone that runs right through the ritual itself because it is practiced on the first day of Lent in Bulgaria.
No historians really agree about why this date was chosen other than the pagan influence, and historians still aren’t sure of why the people of Bulgaria believed that it could be possible to beat disease out of animals, beat evil spirits out of animals, or beat dogs severely enough that they wouldn’t be able to contract diseases and illnesses later on in life.
The future of dog spinning is bleak
Because the world has become more connected today than ever before, and because news travels to all corners of the globe with lightning like speed – especially when it’s as bad or as savage as this – the future of the dog spinning ritual is as bleak as it has ever been in its history.
As we highlighted above, the dog spinning ritual that has been practiced in Bulgaria for more than 100 years has been outlawed completely since 2006. And while villages continue to flout these rules, these laws, and the social obligations, the government of Bulgaria is being crushed under global pressure to actually enforce these laws and stop this practice completely.
Global petitions are popping up all over the developed world, but especially in the United States and the United Kingdom, to put pressure on the Bulgarian government in the form of sanctions and other punitive actions if necessary to make sure that dog spinning stops once and for all.
This is, after all, the 21st century and we now understand beyond a shadow of a doubt that suspending dogs over water, crushing them with ropes and spinning them until they are so disoriented that they drown is never going to ward off rabies and isn’t going to protect anyone from evil spirits.