Holy festival ends in fire walk in Actonville

After starting off with the raising of a symbolic yellow-and-white flag on May 5 and the devotees’ abstention from the consumption of meat and alcohol for 10 days, the festival reached its heated zenith on May 14.

The final ceremonies were held at the Sai Temple in Caledon Street, in Actonville and a nearby field.

“This year, we burned one-and-a-half tons (metric) of wood and extended the fire pit in length and width,” said Roy Naidoo, the head priest at the home-based temple.

“We make offerings of fruit and milk to the Mother Goddess, to thank her and ask for protection during the fire walk.”

Naidoo said people from all over the area come for the fire walking ceremony; several participants came from Secunda.

The wood was lit early that morning and the fire walk itself commenced only several hours after the start of the ceremony, in which devotees prayed to the Mother Goddess and took part in a procession.

The procession led the group to a nearby field, where several of the participants entered into a trance state and some had their bodies pierced.

Several of the devotees had symbolic hooks hung from their upper bodies and skewers piercing their tongues or cheeks.


Pink powder paint and yellow turmeric decorated the faces and arms of the people.

The coals were spread out in the fire pit just before the religious procession returned to its ceremonial starting point.

There was a smaller pit at the end of the fire bed, filled with about 20 litres of milk, as part of the ceremony to cleanse the devotees of their sins.

The festival runs every year and culminates with the fire walking ceremony in the second week of May.


Also see:

Heated culmination to holy festival

Kavady celebrations draw thousands

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Erik van Dijk

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