Kaparot, Mea Shearim, Jerusalem - Gil Cohen - October 6 2011
An ultra-Orthodox Jew swings a chicken as they perform the Kaparot ritual ahead of the holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim, October 6, 2011. Photo by Gil Cohen
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Kaparot is a custom connected to Yom Kippur, where white chickens are slaughtered as a symbolic gesture of atonement. The slaughtered chickens are then donated to the poor.

It is believed that Jews transfers their sins from the past year into the chicken.

The kaparot ceremony is held before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which starts on Friday. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer.