Not cattle class: Indonesian families celebrating Eid Festival snap up $31k luxury cows in showrooms
Every year just before the Muslim feast of sacrifice, showrooms replace their cars for big cows that can cost up to US$25,000 (S$31,824) each.
Then, they try to lure wealthy people who are keen to buy the luxury cattle to celebrate the festival.
Similar to girls trying to sell cars, women selling the prime livestock are clad in tight outfits. They also don heavy make-up as they accompany customers browsing for 'luxury' cows that will be slaughtered for the Muslim Eid festival, which falls on Sunday.
At the festival, Muslims with the financial means are obliged to buy an animal to be ritually sacrificed - in honour of the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son on the order of God.
"(These cows) are the Lexus and Mercedes of the cattle world," said salesgirl Desnia Yoshie, as she clutches a Samsung table displaying an online catalogue with details of the animals for sale.
Wealthy elite splurge on faith to outdo each other
These showrooms even have names.
An example? The Mall of Sacrificial Animals, which is situated on the outskirts of Jakarta.
The wealthy elite seems eager to outdo each other. In a show of how willing they are to spend on their faith, items from pricey religious offerings at major festivals to designer headscarves for women are fair game.
Many of the cows on offer cost from $1,000 to $1,600, but top-of-the range beasts – the Santa Gertrudis and Brahman cross breeds – sell for as much as $25,000.
The cows are from Australian stock – Australian cattle is sought after in Indonesia – and weigh up to 1.7 tonnes, about the same as a Ferrari 550 sports car.
The showroom attracts the elite, from government ministers to wealthy Indonesians who come back from overseas for Eid, according to owner Ramdoni Hussainor. He said that this year he has so far sold 5,000 cows, up from 4,750 in 2013.
Showrooms switch from selling cars to cows a month before Eid
For wealthy Indonesians used to shopping in the comfort of glitzy malls, the showroom also offers a clean, organised environment to buy cattle. It's a contrast to the many sellers who set up shop on roadsides ahead of Eid.
“Their economic status improves but at the same time they do not want to let go of their religious identity,” Noorhaidi Hasan, a lecturer on Islam and politics at the Islamic University of Sunan Kalidjaga in Yogyakarta on Java island, told AFP.
“If others buy a two-million rupiah ($165) goat, it’s not a problem for them to buy one costing three to four million.”
As for the showroom’s staff, switching from selling cars to cows for a month each year is a unique experience – but not one that is always pleasant.
“I smell like cow and have to shampoo my hair three times every day. I have told my boss that he owes us all a visit to the spa after Eid,” joked salesgirl Yoshie.