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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fiji fire walking Hindu style

Fire walking in Fiji.

When one thinks of fire walking in Fiji, images of Indigenous Fijians fire walking on hot stones come to mind.  This type of fire walking is called Na Vilavilirevo and originated on the island of Beqa.  Traditionally, the annual event required months of perpetration under the direction of cheif.  Today, it's a popular tourist show at Pacific Harbor and other resorts around Fiji and can be seen six days a week.  It's not a show to miss, but a world apart from the religious significance of the southern Indian Hindu tradition.

The Hindu tradition of Fire Pooja is a bit more sacred.  It's a 3 to 10 day event with prayer, fasting and meditation leading up to a climax  event of body piercing and walking repeatedly across hot coals. In Suva it's held at the 'Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam's (TISI SangamRaj Maha Mariamman Temple on Howell street. 
 The firewalking pit was definitely hot as some of the younger walkers noticeably sped up the last few steps. A few very devote walked a much slower pace in a trance like state.
 Raj Maha Mariamman Temple
 Rhythmic dancing and chantings.
 Lots of piercings with metal pitch fork shaped needles as seen on this guys back.
 Piercing through the cheeks with an arrow has got to leave some marks.
 This costume was incredible and the dancer incredibly entergetic
 An array of musical instruments provided a trance inducing rhythm and cadence to everyone's movements
 Tons of piercing including a metal pot hanging from the cheek piercings