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There's A New Goddess In Town!

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In Nepal, 3-year-old Matani Shakya has been declared a living goddess, or kumari.

Work that goddess action, honey!

Why was this little 3-year-old chosen to be a deity????

Matani earned her goddessip through a series of tests, including a fearless night alone in a room populated with the severed heads of sacrificed goats and buffaloes. She also met the aestehtic standards of perfect hair, skin, and teeth.

From now on, she must always wear red, her hair in topknots, a "third eye" painted on her forehead, and live in mostly solitude in a temple in the Nepali capitol. There, she will be worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists as an incarnation of the powerful Hindu deity Taleju and will venture into the public only for religious festivals, when devotees will touch their foreheads to her feet in reverence.

When she reaches sexuality maturity she will be sent back home to her parents and a new goddess will be appointed.

How rude!

Though the tradition is centuries old and deeply rooted in Nepal's abolished monarchy, critics say it violates child rights. The girls often experience difficulty reentering a life of normalcy and since a superstition claims that those who marry a former kumari die young, the girls are often left without support.

We can sort of imagine little Zahara in that getup - she is certainly a goddess!

[Image via AP Images.]

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74 comments to “There's A New Goddess In Town!”

  1. Gigit says – reply to this


    1

    "She also met the aesthetic standards of perfect hair, skin, and teeth." Disgusting



  2. 2

    were not talking about britney spears? WTF



  3. 3

    wow thats nuts. poor little girll doesnt even get a say in the whole thing

  4. kuku says – reply to this


    4

    FIERCE!



  5. 5

    If thats her so is so cute!



  6. 6

    i'm jealous, except for the buffalo part.



  7. 7

    I feel so bad for that little girl. I can't imagine putting a 3 yr old alone with some dead animals, and she's not even allowed to be a child!



  8. 8

    Shiloh is much prettier than Zahara, I wanna see Shiloh in this getup =)



  9. 9

    poor girl. she will most likely have so much difficulty adjusting once she enters puberty.



  10. 10

    "girls often experience difficulty reentering a life of normalcy"…..shocker



  11. 11

    what a pretty young girl.. to bad that thats the life she hass to lead



  12. 12

    they should not do that to the poor child….shes beautiful !



  13. 13

    awww



  14. 14

    Perfect hair???? Hmmmm….ooooooooooooookkkkkk



  15. 15

    so weird. but she's so cute!



  16. 16

    If you follow the link to the other photos, she looks like she has a burn on the right side of her face…I wonder if they put that there…..



  17. 17

    I'M SORRY HONEYS BUT THIS IS BULLSH:)T!



  18. 18

    That poor thing.



  19. 19

    Inhumane. And Zahara ain't no goddess.



  20. 20

    What a beautiful child! However the pressure on her is overwhelming.

    Ahhh….religion. See the new film by Bill Maher- Religulous !!!

    Makes one think!



  21. 21

    LOVE the eye makeup!



  22. 22

    that's abuse!



  23. 23

    poor kid.
    she IS very cute, and she wont even get to have a normal life.
    i get that it's an honor and whatnot, but it has to be kind of lonely.



  24. 24

    Another reason children & human rights groups are up in arms is the fact that these kumari spent the majority of their lives prior to puberty with extremely limited human contact.
    They are taken from their parents and are served upon by monks. It's sick & twisted & sad.



  25. 25

    I realize this is part of their culture but I think it's sad and she's a beautiful little girl.



  26. 26

    How different is this from Disney or a music label pimping underage girls to the public? Oh, besides the fact that Disney and the music labels are corporations that make a shitload of money off of exploiting underage girls?



  27. 27

    she is such a beautiful little girl.
    I definitely don't agree with what they do to their supposed goddesses, but whatever. that's how it goes.



  28. 28

    Children should be nurtured to grow up as they will, not as adults will.



  29. 29

    Sick. Period.



  30. 30

    awwww shes lucky and cursed tooo lol
    i bet it will have its advantages and also disadvantages but overall i think her life will be gud…hopefully u talk about her as she grows up awwww shes so cute now



  31. 31

    how stupid is this?!?!? i mean really??



  32. 32

    That had to be the scariest crap I've heard all day! "a fearless night alone in a room populated with the severed heads of sacrificed goats and buffaloes." I'm 31 and that would have terrified me. What demon came up with that? I try to be tolerant of other cultures but this is just wrong.



  33. 33

    WOW, that is insane! She is a beautiful litttle girl.

  34. MP says – reply to this


    34

    That is child abuse! But what do you expect from backward Third World countries who are steeped in religion?



  35. 35

    She's wearing eyeliner! That;s sad.



  36. 36

    Would you please get down from Angelina and Brad's ass - Zahara is not, and never will be any goddess. For all our sakes, shut your trap!



  37. 37

    she's precious!



  38. 38

    I say we take a Perez-led field trip and rescue her!



  39. 39

    OMG
    spent a night alone with severed heads.
    omg



  40. 40

    ooohh! she is soooooooooo cute!!!!!!!!! i want to be like a goddess!!



  41. 41

    Re: Gigit – lol racist bitch



  42. 42

    This is so sad. I saw a special on Kumari's on TV and they live a lavish life of praise until another is appointed and then their lives are so lonely due to no one wanting to marry them. :( Poor girl..she's beautiful.



  43. 43

    I'm always amazed that someone with an NYU education can leave such idiotic comments on social and world issues. What's happening to this child is incredibly cruel, yet Perez clearly is trying make it a stupid gossip issue by somehow drawing Zahara Jolie-Pitt into the conversation- a comparison which is truly awe-inspiringly stupid.



  44. 44

    Actually, "Kumari" means princess. She is a living princess. "Devika" means goddess. Nepalese is very similiar to hindi..but ask the local people, and they will tell you she is a princess.



  45. 45

    Re: Astrid24 – Love you so bad, Astrid.



  46. 46

    These people need TV! They're bored!



  47. 47

    "and live in mostly solitude in a temple in the Nepali capitol." So, I'm assuming she'll also be granted unlimited therapy sessions as an adult?



  48. 48

    Religions flow from mental illness.
    ~



  49. 49

    That poor girl. This seems like the creepiest thing ever.



  50. 50

    Making a three-year-old spend a night in a room with the severed heads of goats and buffaloes?
    Ain't religion grand?



  51. 51

    So sad.



  52. 52

    I can find a little hindu girl like that in the street…..gross.She looks like shit.



  53. 53

    God does not want people worshipping humans- Traditions are great to uphold but some are dangerous- to the sanity of the child and to her safety. if she wants to study her religion and become a priestess why not but to be told she is the reincarnation of an old legend and have th world worship her for the legend is disturbing in the fact that she had no feeling of this particular diety but she won a competition of the bravest child and happened to have beautiful skin hair and teeth- most children have that- where is the real test to say that you are a reincarnation- there is none. because she is a new soul or possibly a reincarnation of someone but probably not that particular soul…crazy how we allow religion to make rules for the way we live and teach our kids. What ever happened to live and love, experience life and learn about your existance.



  54. 54

    they are so full of shit…what are they really doing to that little girl sooo stupid



  55. 55

    she has all the hollywierd babies beat hands down!!! Hopefully when she gets older, she'll break free from the xenu life!



  56. 56

    Actually I was quite impressed! For once in Perez's Pseudo journalistic life he was mostly accurate! I used to live in Nepal. And they are considered goddesses. They are only allowed out of their home about twice a year, so they never see the outdoors. They are uneducated, unskilled, and prepared for nothing when they are booted out, at onset of menstruation. They are usually very sad little girls who turn into homeless women with an incredibly high suicide rate.



  57. 57

    That's RIDICLOUS!!!!! I can't believe that in 2008 there are still societies like this in the world. They made her stay in a room with goats and buffaloes that were sacrificed???
    Sacrificed for what?????? Why would any "GOD" want you to kill animals or peoplein sacrifice? People need to use there brains, instead of clinging to these silly beliefs. These crazy religions is the root of all evil. I can't believe people actually believe this shit and practice it. It's the definition of insanity.



  58. 58

    Re: SarahK – Why do they do this to these poor little girls. Do they actually believe they are reincarnated legends? Can't anyone stop this from happening to them?



  59. 59

    she's adorable, but this is insane. i feel bad for her. she looks terrified and sad - i would be too, even at my age.



  60. 60

    What I can't believe is that we are nearing the end of 2008 and people STILL are this judgmental and incapable of accepting other cultures and religions.
    No, it may not be normal to us, but for them, it is a normal and accepted process, so who are we to pass judgment??
    C'mon people, stop being so close minded.



  61. 61

    Ooh it's: Jon Benet Patel

  62. RDRH says – reply to this


    62

    this is disgusting that a child can't have a normal life… live mostly in solitude. This is abuse.



  63. 63

    thats fucked.
    maybe shes just hot?
    p.s why have they slathered her with so much make up if shes perfect.



  64. 64

    I think the little girl is beautiful! And my opinion of the whole thing is live and let live. We don't need to make it our business of what they do over in their own country - what they do is up to them, I think! We sometimes poke our noses where we shouldn't, and it gets us into trouble.



  65. 65

    poor girl :( she'll lose her whole childhood to that goddess-thing.
    however, she IS incredibly cute.



  66. 66

    Are you fucking kidding me with this shit. A "living goddess"? And Perez is buying into this shit. Get a fucking life anymore.



  67. 67

    I apologize for insulting another's religion, but there is nothing uplifting about this. She was in, effect, tortured to find her 'goddess ship', then kept in virtual solitary confinement, brought out to 'show' people, then thrown out to die because no man wants to 'die young'. WOW!

    And Zahara is the shizzz! Make them bow to you honey!



  68. 68

    Those people over in those countries are so stupid it's not even funny! They are so gross and know nothing about hygiene! Drinking water that fucking cows shit in etc and they wonder why they get sick and die and have all sorts of weird grows and weird shit period. And this crap? Even more stupid! The little girl is cute but a Goddess? What the fuck is wrong with those people? Yeah religion is definitely it. It 's does not for us a people but divide us.



  69. 69

    That's fucking ridiculous. Poor defensless kid is being forced into a life that she very well may not want. FUCK TRADITION.



  70. 70

    i hate zahara… she's such a pretentious bitch… even if she is all of 5 years old or whatever… she has such a dumb face all the time, never smiles and has a huge head. ugh i cant stand her. sorry.



  71. 71

    of course she has perfect skin - don't all 3 year olds do?



  72. 72

    Lmao at perfect hair, skin and teeth. um doesn't every damn three year old fit those qualifications? I haven't met a 3 year old with acne, brown teeth stained from smoking and dreadlocks so knotted they can't take them out. Those are people's beliefs but it's sad to me



  73. 73

    Re: KokoPuffs – um hello Zahara is constantly being followed. She is a little girl who is afraid of strangers always flashing lights in her face. When you are a grown woman saying you can't stand a little girl, you are sad.



  74. 74

    Omg, child rights violation!
    no offence to them or anything but common calling a 3 year old a goddes!