Sunday, 23 October 2016

Thimithi தீமிதி Fire Walking Festival 2016

Singapore Fire Walking Festival 2016 at Sri Mariamman Temple

The annual Fire Walking festival at the Sri Mariamman Temple in Singapore attracts thousands of Hindu devotees, especially Tamilians from Singapore, India and Malaysia. Singapore Fire Walking Festival 2016 date is October 23, Sunday. The Theemidhi Ritual is dedicated to queen Draupadi of Mahabharata who is worshipped as Draupadi Amman in Tamil Culture.

Devotees perform the Theemidhi ritual for their wishes and prayers fulfilled by the Mother Goddess. Thousands of devotees have had their wishes fulfilled after praying at the Sri Mariamman Temple.

The main ritual during the fire walking ceremony involves walking over a four meter pit of burning coal specially prepared at the Mariamman Temple. The chief priest of Sri Mariamman Temple after special prayers and pujas walks over the burning coal and he is followed by those devotees who wish to take part in the ritual. Devotees young and old participate in the ritual.

The main ceremony begins at midnight (0100hrs) devotees take ritual bath at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and walk up to Mariamman Temple. All the important rituals associated with Tamil festivals are part of the fire walking ceremony.

One of the most striking aspects during the Theemidhi – Fire Walking Festival – is that all devotees come out of the coal bed without any burns.


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The Thimithi Festival

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.

Another event that takes place is a grand marriage ceremony, symbolic of the one carried out by Arjuna and Draupadi. A simulated ritual is also conducted to remember the sacrifice of Hijra to ensure success for the Pandavas. This simulated ritual however does not require a human sacrifice. Devotees then offer their prayers and carry milk pots, prostrate after every step and roll around the temple grounds.

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