Sunday, 20 October 2013

Thimithi தீமிதி Fire Walking Festival 2013


Several roads to be closed in October for annual fire-walking festival
The annual fire walking festival or Thimithi at the Sri Mariamman Temple on Nov 4, 2012. Several roads will be closed, while others will have a lane or two blocked, for the annual fire-walking festival at the Sri Mariamman Temple on Oct 20. -- ST FILE PHOTO : ARUN RAMU

Several roads will be closed, while others will have a lane or two blocked, for the annual fire-walking festival at the Sri Mariamman Temple on Oct 20.

About 4,500 male devotees are expected to take part in the festival which begins in the evening at 6pm at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road and ends at the Sri Mariamman Temple.

From 2pm on Oct 20 to 7am the following day, Mohammed Ali Lane and Temple Street will be closed to traffic, and Mosque Street will be converted temporarily to a two-way street.

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Theemithi (Fire-walking)

Theemithi (Thimithi) or "firewalking" is done as part of a religious vow in which the devotee promises to walk on fire in exchange for a wish or blessing granted by the Goddess Draupadi. Theemithi is part of a larger ceremony stretching over a two-and-a-half month period where parts of the Mahabharata is re-enacted, totalling up to 18 distinguishable rites.

Firewalking is an international Hindu festival which originated in South India. It is practised not only in India and Singapore but even in South Africa and wherever there are South Indians. The Goddess Draupadi is the heroine of the Mahabharata and is a common village goddess, or amman ("mother" goddess). She presides over firewalking in South Indian rituals just like Mariamman who is the principal goddess of Sri Mariamman Temple, and may be one of the reasons why Sri Mariamman Temple is the location for the firewalking ceremony in Singapore. Sri Mariamman Temple also happens to be the oldest and largest Hindu temple in Singapore and Theemithi has been practised here since 1840. The firewalking is actually a culmination of a four-kilometre walk that begins at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Serangoon Road. The reasons for starting at the Perumal Temple is uncertain although it is suggested that the location is selected solely for convenience

In 1997, about 2,500 persons turned up for the firewalking ritual with up to 10 percent of them being Chinese. More than 20,000 would turn up for the penance rituals, starting several weeks before the firewalking.

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Timiti

A father fire walking with his child during the annual Hindu festival at Udappu village in Sri Lanka

The Tīmiti (Tamil: தீமிதி) Kundam or firewalking ceremony is a Hindu festival originating in Tamil Nadu, South India that is celebrated during the month of Aipasi (or Aippasi) of the Tamil calendar. This occurs between the Gregorian calendar months of October and November. The fire-walking ceremony is in honour of Draupati Amman, who is considered the incarnation of Mariamman, and is practiced not only in India, but also in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa and other countries with large South Indian populations.

In Singapore, the celebrations begin at Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Kudavasal in Serangoon Road around 10pm and the priest leads the grand procession of people through the streets to Sri Mariamman Temple in South Bridge Road where the actual tīmiti takes place. The priest starts the tīmiti by walking through the pit filled with hot burning wood with a karakattam "sacred water-filled pot" on his head. He is followed by male devotees intent on fulfilling their personal promises and proving their faith. The devotees may include a minority of non-Indians and non-Hindus.

Origins of the festival - The tīmiti festival is celebrated in honour of Draupadi, the main character of the epic Mahabharata, who is the wife of the five Pandava brothers. In a gambling session with their cousin Duryodhana, the Pandava brothers lost their home, country and even their wife.

Not satisfied with his victory, Duryodhana wanted to further disgrace the brothers. He requested his younger brother Dushasana strip Draupadi in front of the court. However, she was saved by Krishna and at that moment, Draupadi took a vow to only comb her hair after smearing Duryodhana's blood on it and using his femur as a comb. The great Mahabharata war took place to fulfill her vow.

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Thimithi Festival

Thimithi is the name of the annual Hindu fire walking the epic poem, the Mahabharata. Legend has it that she had to prove her innocence and fidelity by walking barefoot over hot coals. ceremony which is a form of penance or thanksgiving in honour of the goddess Draupadi.

The Hindu fire-walking festival is celebrated at Sri Mariamman Temple in October. Little India's streets and Deepavali, the Hindu Festival of Lights in October or November. Crowds pack the Sri Mariamman Temple on South Bridge road, to watch the barefoot Hindu devotees walk across a pit of red-hot embers without showing any signs of pain. Festival celebrations begin at 2am and the fire walking takes place at 5pm. It is advised to get to the temple early to obtain a good vantage point. Temple etiquette requires visitors to be dressed appropriately, and shoes must be removed at the door.

LEGEND - Draupadi is a heroine of the epic poem Mahabharata, a princess whose husband lost her in a game of dice with his cousin, Duryodhana. Lord Krishna came to her rescue, but to add insult to injury her husband questioned her purity when she was returned, so to prove her innocence she walked across burning coals.

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Thimithi Festival

Thimithi Festival is the annual fire walking festival which is observed in honor of Draupadi. This festival is a form of penance in honor of Draupadi. This festival is celebrated at Sri Mariamman temple during the month of October. During this festival devotees walk bare footed on the pit of burning coal without showing any signs of pain. The fire walking is very popular and thus people come in huge crowds to see this fire walking.
  • The worship rituals begin at the morning around 2am and the fore walking starts at 5pm at evening. People come as early as possible so that they do not have to deal with the crowd and they can see the festival with advantage. The people must have to come in proper dress to enter the temple and shoes are to be left outside which are mandatory.
  • The Thimithi Festival takes place during the month of Aipasi which falls on the month of October and November. The festival celebrations begin at Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple at 2am.
  • A procession starts from there with a priest leading it and it ends at Sri Mariamman temple. The fire walking ritual is started by the priest and then it is followed by the devotees.
  • After the walking is complete people then walk through a pit of goat’s milk and rub their feet with turmeric powder.
  • During the Thimithi Festival the ceremonies also include the enactment of the parts of Mahabharata as Draupadi was the heroine of the epic. Devotees perform the drama dressing themselves in colorful dresses. The wedding ceremony of Arjun and Draupadi are also performed by the devotees.
  • Another custom of the festival includes bathing of Sri Mariamman with milk which is believed to be associated with the sins of men getting washed away.
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Thimithi Festival

Thimithi Festival, Fire Walking Festival, Thimithi Festival Celebration, Thimithi Festival Information:

Thimithi will be the title with the yearly Hindu fire strolling ceremony which is a type of penance or thanksgiving in honour of the goddess Draupadi, heroine with the epic poem, the Mahabharata. Legend has it that she had to prove her innocence and fidelity by walking barefoot over hot coals.

The Hindu fire-walking festival is celebrated at Sri Mariamman Temple in October. Small India's streets and Deepavali, the Hindu Festival of Lights in October or November.

Crowds pack the Sri Mariamman Temple on South Bridge street, to watch the barefoot Hindu devotees walk across a pit of red-hot embers without displaying any indicators of pain. Festival celebrations begin at 2am as well as the fire strolling normally requires location at 5pm. It's suggested to obtain for the temple early to obtain a great vantage point. Temple etiquette needs guests to become dressed appropriately, and sneakers have to be removed at the door.

Origins of the festival - The Thimithi festival is celebrated in honour of Draupadi, the key character from the epic Mahabharata, who's the spouse from the 5 Pandavas brothers. In a gambling session with their cousin Duryodhana, the Pandava brothers misplaced their property, country and also their wife. Not being happy using the victory, Duryodhana needed to further disgrace the brothers. He requested his younger brother Dushasana to strip Draupadi in front with the court.

But she was saved by Krishna and at that instance Draupadi took a vow to only comb her hair soon after smearing Duryodhana's blood on it and making use of his thigh bone (femur) like a comb. The great Mahabharatha war took location to fulfill her vow. Following the war, to prove her purity she walked by means of a bed of fire and came out as clean as a flower. The festival is celebrated to commemorate this occasion.

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Thimithi Festival

Thimithi is the name of the annual Hindu fire walking ceremony which is a form of penance or thanksgiving in honour of the goddess Draupadi, heroine of the epic poem, the Mahabharata. Legend has it that she had to prove her innocence and fidelity by walking barefoot over hot coals.

The Hindu fire-walking festival is celebrated at Sri Mariamman Temple in October. Little India's streets and Deepavali, the Hindu Festival of Lights in October or November. Crowds pack the Sri Mariamman Temple on South Bridge road, to watch the barefoot Hindu devotees walk across a pit of red-hot embers without showing any signs of pain.

Festival celebrations begin at 2am and the fire walking takes place at 5pm. It is advised to get to the temple early to obtain a good vantage point. Temple etiquette requires visitors to be dressed appropriately, and shoes must be removed at the door.

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Thimithi Fire Walking

As with the majority of these unusual (read: incredibly-painful-sounding) festivals, the Thimithi Fire Walking ritual is steeped in centuries old tradition. This annual ceremony is celebrated in honour of queen Draupadi of Mahabharata who, legend has it, once walked over a bed of burning coal to prove her innocence and purity. So the story goes, this worshipped queen came out of her ordeal completely unscathed – not a burn or scald to speak of.

Today, barefoot Hindus young and old walk across a bed of white-hot embers in honour of their worshipped queen. The procession begins from late evening of 24 October at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, where devotees take ritual baths before filing together on a trek to Mariamman Temple. At around 2am, the chief priest will be first to walk across the burning coals with the Karagam (sacred water-filled pot) balanced on his head. Following him will be a procession of male devotees intent on fulfilling personal promises, proving their faith and remembering the trials of Draupadi. It is said that if a fire-walker is not pure, he or she will fail the test and burn.

The most striking aspect? The majority of devotees come out of the red-hot coal bed completely unscathed. Umm…what? If someone could tell us how exactly this works, we would be more than grateful…Is there a scientific explanation? Or can this really all be related back to blind faith?

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Thimithi

The Thimithi Festival is most commonly known by locals as the fire-walking festival. Catch this breath-taking event at Sri Mariamman Temple at 4pm, the end point of the walking procession from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple.

The festival originated from South India in honour of Draupadi Amman, the main character in the epic tale of Mahabharata, the wife of five Pandava brothers, who ultimately lose their home, country and their wife after a gambling session with their cousin Duryodhana. This cousin wanted to further disgrace the five brothers and got his younger brother to strip Draupadi in court. However, she was saved by Krishna and took a vow to comb her hair only after smearing Duryodhana's blood on it and using a comb made out of his thigh bone. 

This vow was made possible after the great Mahabharata war, and she proved her purity by walking through a bed of fire and emerging as fresh as a flower. Drama troupes and devotees still enact this epic till today. In preparation for the festival, the devotees pray to Periyachi, who is one of the most important deities of Mariamman's entourage. A grand prayer session is held to ask for her blessings upon the devotees and for protection during the festival.

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Thimithi Festival

Thimithi is the name of the annual Hindu fire walking ceremony which is a form of penance or thanksgiving in honour of the goddess Draupadi, heroine of the epic poem, the Mahabharata. Legend has it that she had to prove her innocence and fidelity by walking barefoot over hot coals.

The Hindu fire-walking festival is celebrated at Sri Mariamman Temple in October. Little India's streets and Deepavali, the Hindu Festival of Lights in October or November. Crowds pack the Sri Mariamman Temple on South Bridge road, to watch the barefoot Hindu devotees walk across a pit of red-hot embers without showing any signs of pain. Festival celebrations begin at 2am and the fire walking takes place at 5pm. It is advised to get to the temple early to obtain a good vantage point. Temple etiquette requires visitors to be dressed appropriately, and shoes must be removed at the door.

Events in Thimti Festival - Thimithi also known as Theemidhi and Theemithi, is a very popular fire walking festival especially celebrated among Hindus. The festival is believed to have originated from Southern India, that is celebrated during the month of Aipasi (or Aippasi) of the Tamilian calendar.

According to the Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated in the months of October November.
It is one festival that is widely celebrated not only in India, but countries if Singapore, Malaysia, and other South africn countries comprising large south Indian population.

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