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A-G Warmly Welcomed at Event

A-G Warmly Welcomed at Event
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with devotess and spectators during the firewalking ceremony at Howell Road Mariamman Sangam Temple on August 26, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO News
August 27
14:15 2018

Fifty-four devotees in Suva yesterday concluded the 10 days of fasting with the an­nual firewalking ceremony at the Howell Road Mariamman Sangam Temple.

A crowd of more than 1000 people were at the temple to witness the holy and auspicious event as devo­tees walked across the hot charcoal pit singing praises to the Goddess Mariamman.

This is originally a South Indian religious practice.

The youngest devotee, who took part in the firewalking event, was a five-year-old boy while the oldest was a 65-year-old man.

Attending the ceremony as a spe­cial guest was Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

A senior priest of the temple, Kiran Shiu Ram, 65, shared some fond memories about how he has known Mr Sayed-Khaiyum since the latter was a child and also ad­dressed anti-Muslim sentiments being perpetuated on social media.

“The A-G and I go back a long way. I am like a father figure to him. I have known his parents for a long time and the A-G since he was sev­en-years-old,” Mr Ram said.

“The respect for me in him is still the same as before. I feel very proud that after attaining such respect in the country as well as internation­ally, he is still the same old person I knew when he was seven-years-old.

“Sometimes after having so much responsibility, fame, money and name, people have a change of atti­tude, but I have found our A-G very down-to-earth and still the same person who respects and cares for all.

“People might be talking about him and talking about him racially and about his religion, but I for one from a different race and religion, I know how good of a person he is.”

Yesterday marked the 92nd firewalking ceremony at the temple for the Then India Sanmarga Ikya (TISI) Sangam Suva Branch.

The devotees in the last ten days listened to the tales of the Goddess Mariamman and enacted her life and traditional dance be­fore the firewalking ceremony.

The devotees conducted the firewalking ceremony by walking on the hot charcoal under the power and blessings of their god­dess.

TISI Sangam Suva Branch president Ravin Swamy said the firewalking ceremony was done to remove the evil from within a per­son.

He said the practice of the ceremony had started back in the South Indian states and had continued all over Fiji.

“Howell Road Mariamman Sangam Tem­ple is one of the country’s biggest temple and the firewalking ceremony conducted today is the last one,” Mr Swamy said.

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“In the month of August, annual firewalk­ing ceremonies for temples around the country begin and is concluded by the last ceremony held at this temple.

“It is believed that the August month was very powerful to pray to the Goddess Mari­amman and hence why the firewalking cer­emony is hosted in August.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with chief priest Prakash Sivam during the firewalking ceremony at Howell Road Mariamman Sangam Temple on August 26, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO News

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with chief priest Prakash Sivam during the firewalking ceremony at Howell Road Mariamman Sangam Temple on August 26, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO News

“The firewalking is an annual event for TISI which draws a huge crowd every year.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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