The Watermelon Sacrifice (1997)

Long ago humans used to sacrifice each other to appease their gods. In more recent times animals have been used for the same purpose. At the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival a watermelon is sacrificed to pay homage to the musical gods. The Watermelon Sacrifice, has been going on for many years at JazzFest, to the delight of the initiated, and to the surprise of those that are witnessing the event for the first time.

First you need a watermelon, then you need to know the words to the sacrificial chant:
Watermelon, Watermelon Red to the Rind,
If you don't believe me, just pull down your blind
Sell it to rich, Sell it to the poor,
Sell it to the lady Standin in da do-or-or,
In da do-or-or
The chant is repeated over and over, while the person carrying the Watermelon moves about the crowd gathering the vibrations of all those present. This process continues until a large crowd is singing the chant or running away in fear and confusion. Those present are permitted to touch the Watermelon to pass on their blessings. As the din of the chant rises, the Watermelon is placed on the ground. The crowd, deeply entranced by the chanting and the Watermelon energy, dances around and over the Watermelon.

As the ritual reaches it's peak, and before the energy dissipates, the Watermelon is picked up and in a orgasm of chanting and dancing the Watermelon is tossed skyward only to come crashing to the ground. The broken, succulent red flesh of the Watermelon, a simile for human blood, is consumed in an orgy by the enraptured mob.

And once again the musical gods are content.

The South Florida chapter of the Pet de Kat Krewe, knowing the value of having happy and content musical gods, performs the Watermelon Sacrifice at music events in the South Florida area.

These photographs document the ritual at the 1997 Ft. Lauderdale Cajun/Crawfish Festival.

Mark approaches carrying the blessed Watermelon as the Sacrifice begins
The tempo picks up tempo, Mike and Mark taunt the crowd with the hallowed melon. The moment of sacrifice approaches.

At the peak of the chanting, the Watermelon is released skyward. Shattered on the ground and consumed in an orgy of Watermelon energy.

Photographs provided by Wendy Rust

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