Sunday, 12 October 2014

Thimithi தீமிதி Fire Walking Festival 2014

Theemidhi or Fire Walking Ceremony honours Goddess Draupadi, heroine of the epic poem “Mahabarata” and deified by the Hindus if South India as Draupadi Amman. Legend has it that she had to prove her innocence and fidelity by walking barefoot over hot coals. For weeks before the ceremony, devotees practice strict vegetarianism and fasting rituals in addition to observing austerities
Every year, Theemidhi is celebrated in the month of October or November. On the actual day, the ceremony starts at 1.00am at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple where the devotees take ritual baths before setting off on a 4km walk to Sri Mariamman Temple.

The highlight of the ceremony is the walk devotees make across a pit of fire. The preparation of the four meter long pit of hot, burning coal that usually takes about five hours is especially important and is preceded with prayer and ritual.

Once the pit is ready, the chief priest of Sri Mariamman Temple would take the first walk across the scorching bed of coals. With intense concentration, barefooted devotees who wish to fulfill a vow make their walk across the pit – completing the challenge miraculously unscathed. Absolute faith, courage and endurance of devotees can be witnessed at this breathtaking ceremony.

Theemidhi Ritual at Sri Mariamman Temple in Singapore 2014
Fire Walking Festival 2014 date as per Singapore Hindu Endowments Board. 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 2014 date is October 12, 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.

Fire walking ritual in Hinduism

Head priest leads Fire Walking Festival at Sri Mariamman Temple
Head priest of the Sri Mariamman Temple, K. Swaminathan, was the first to walk across a pit of fiery hot coals at the annual Fire Walking Festival on Sunday night - ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
A Hindu devotee at the annual fire walking festival at Sri Mariamman Temple
Spectators at the annual fire walking festival for Hindu devotees at Sri Mariamman Temple
A woman spectator falls into a trance at the annual fire walking festival for Hindu devotees at Sri Mariamman Temple

He led 4,500 male devotees from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Serangoon Road to the ritual at the Sri Mariamman Temple on South Bridge Road.

Fire walking is a South Indian festival honouring the Hindu goddess Sri Draupadi, who is the wife of the five Pandava brothers who walked on hot coals to prove her purity.

Only men are allowed in the procession and they are encouraged to wear yellow or saffron-coloured clothes.