Getting ready for annual fire-walking festival

Devotees flanking a chariot as it arrives at the entrance of Singapore's oldest Hindu temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple in South Bridge Road, at around 1.05am yesterday. It had made its way to the temple in Chinatown from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Tem
ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Devotees flanking a chariot as it arrives at the entrance of Singapore's oldest Hindu temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple in South Bridge Road, at around 1.05am yesterday. It had made its way to the temple in Chinatown from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road for the annual fire-walking festival, or Theemithi, where devotees take a religious vow to walk on fire in exchange for a wish or blessing from the goddess Draupadi. Preparations on Saturday night included making milk pots and tying neem leaves and garlands. This year, around 30 Chinese devotees took part - donating and participating in prayers, making offerings and taking part in fire-walking. Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam, who joined the devotees, said: "You see Indians, Hindus, taking part, but you also see others, non-Hindus taking part. It's really something unique about Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2016, with the headline 'Getting ready for annual fire-walking festival'. Print Edition | Subscribe