Kapparot, meaning atonement, is a custom in Judaism. In it traditional form, it involves, on the eve of Yom Kippur, waving a live chicken over one's head, while reciting a short prayer, translated as: "This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my expiation. This chicken shall go to death and I shall proceed to a good, long life and peace."
The chicken is then slaughtered, using Jewish ritual slaughter. Traditionally, the chickens were supposed to be given to the poor, but due to health concerns, today the carcasses are typically thrown away.
Animal rights activists have been critical. Money may be used instead of a chicken by less Orthodox Jews.