Glendale Man Ejected onto Freeway Sign

By Flastic (Own Work/Flastic) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Family performed Armenian Madagh, a lamb sacrifice, “to protect a man from evil and harm.”

Friday, October 30, a man’s body was discovered on a Freeway sign on the I-5 in Glendale, California.  Upon further investigation, it was determined the man was ejected from his car during a car crash, landing on the sign dozens of feet in the air. He was not wearing his seatbelt.

Richard Pananian, who was just a mere age of 20, was battling severe health issues. It was also said that his family had performed a Madagh ceremony for him in order to protect him from all sorts of diseases and accidents. The specific health issues Pananian suffered from have not been released to the public.

Despite Richard’s recovery from several health issues, his family did not want to take any chances. On Sunday, October 25, his family performed a Madagh ceremony for him. Through this ceremony, they asked for blessings and forgiveness from God. They also asked for his well-being and protection from all sorts of harm.

Madagh is an Armenian custom in which victims are honored through funeral services. This celebration is most commonly linked with the Armenian Genocide.

Many people consider Madagh to be of the same level as those sacrifices which have been mentioned in the Old Testament. By shedding the blood of an animal, people believed that they were eligible for seeking forgiveness for their sins.

Firstly, Madagh is an offering which is made to God. Secondly, it is a sign of showing love and care towards the poor people. Thirdly, it is a way of remembering the deceased. Lastly, it is an expression of gratitude which is made to God for saving everyone from calamities and diseases.

Therefore, in order for Madagh to be considered valid, a person will have to follow some certain guidelines:

  • The whole ceremony has to be performed by a priest
  • Besides the animal, any form of donation is considered to be acceptable. This may be food and clothing
  • The sacrificial animal is prohibited from entering the Church premises
  • The Madagh cannot be performed on a Wednesday or a Friday, or any other fast days for that matter
  • The meat of Madagh must not be kept at home. Instead, it should be distributed to the poor on the same day as it has been cut
  • The two elements for offering a sacrifice is an animal and salt
  • The animal must be male
  • The salt must be blessed before the ceremony begins
  • The meat should only be cooked in salt water

The food offerings which are made often consist of lamb stew with pilaf which has been made with bulgur, and an Armenian flat bread or katah bread as it is known in their native language

Richard’s family hoped that the sacrifice of a lamb would be sufficient. But it did not turn out to be like that. On Friday, Pananian was on his way to his new job when he was involved in a severe car crash. His car, which was a Ford Fiesta, rear-ended a pickup truck and overturned. As a result, his body was ejected onto the freeway sign. Rescue crews used a ladder to remove his deceased body from the freeway sign.

Currently, Pananian’s family is trying to raise $50,000 for what they claim to be “unexpected financial burdens.” To date, only $15,000 has been raised.

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