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Home > Horror News > Local Horror News > Fire-Walking Ritual
Fire-Walking Ritual
By: RSS/News Feeds

STRAITS TIMES
Oct 10, 2006
Devotees throng temple for fire-walking ritual
By Jessica Lim

IN THE cool pre-dawn, Hindu devotee K. Kumar stood calmly before the fire pit at the Sri Mariamman Temple, a look of determination on his face.
The 53-year-old supervisor at a dispatch company has walked across the coals every year for the past 33 years but for him, every occasion represents a new experience.

‘There is no such thing as practice,’ he said as he prepared for his ritual yesterday.

The annual Thimithi festival – which means fire-walking in Tamil – drew about 3,700 male devotees this year, all intent on proving their devotion to Hindu gods.

Mr Kumar was there to once again give thanks for the daughter he and his wife were granted after 18 years of prayer.

‘My wife and I tried everything from specialists to fertility clinics,’ he said. ‘We gave up and concentrated on prayer, and it worked.’

His daughter is now 12 years old. The couple went on to have a son who is now eight.

In preparation for the fire-walking, Mr Kumar had fasted and slept on the floor for 15 days.

Devotees had gathered at about 1.30 am at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road. They then walked 4km to the South Bridge Road temple where the fire pit had been readied.

Devotees lined up and took turns to walk across the 4m-long bed of scorching coals. After the men completed the ritual, the women showed their devotion by walking around the pit.

And after the embers had cooled down, some took the coals home as religious tokens.

Said Mr S. Nalla, head of the Hindu Endowments Board: ‘The fire-walking ritual is an opportunity for Hindus to thank the gods for answering their prayers and to show their piety.’

Mr Kathik Roshan, 25, is one example. He walked the pit to ‘thank the gods’ for helping him ‘get this far’.

The mechanical engineering student had worked his way up from ITE College West (Balestier Campus) to Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Another devotee made a pilgrimage from across the world to attend the fire-walking festivities in Singapore.

A former Singaporean resident, Ms Jananie Narayana, 34, flew in from New York especially for the celebration because ‘it’s just not the same in New York, it’s too quiet’.

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