A fiery walk of faith for Hindus

Close to 4,500 devotees braved the heat last night at Sri Mariamman Temple in South Bridge Road for the annual fire-walking festival, or Theemithi.

Displaying nerves of steel, they strode barefoot across a bed of burning charcoal, before stepping into a pit of milk.

The ritual, held a week before Deepavali, is a form of penance or thanksgiving in honour of Hindu goddess Sri Drowpathai Amman.

The pit was lit at 11.30am and the hot coals were continuously stoked throughout the day. Close to 9pm, the first devotee made his way across the pit. The fire-walking ceremony was expected to last till about 4am today.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam was the guest of honour at last night's event.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2018, with the headline 'A fiery walk of faith for Hindus'. Print Edition | Subscribe