Photo Essay

Thaipoosam Cavadee Festival in Mauritius

Pain..I'll do it

Cavadee Festival is kept every January. It is a colourful, interesting , basically shocking, religious ceremony, within the tamil indian population.

I was very lucky that I could be eyewitness of such an event, as the basic purpose of my trip was different.

I was only informed about this event on the spot, by our tourist guide, who had not seen such a thing before.

The festival itself is kept throughout the island. I followed the events in the village named Triolet.

Right at the beginning I was impressed by the atmosphere of the whole ceremony.

In the huge front garden of the wonderful colourful tiny church, surrounded by stone wall, under the shadow offered by the trees, people were gathering, along with their relatives, and with other visitors, and some tourists.

We were many in the garden of the church, we could hardly hear each other's voice in the cacophony. Singing and roll of drum interrupted the speach of the priest.

There was intereting spicy smell in the air. It was even more impressive by the pink clothes of the people, and by their self-made wreaths decorated with colourful flowers.

The beleivers were waiting in front of their tiny altars, so that they could make their sacrifice to Muruga.

Muruga, the child of god Siva, in the form of a peacock, accepts their offerings, with tough conditions.

These people spent at least ten days in fasting, prior to the festival, they only had water, some bread, they slept during the day, and they were awake during the night, praying and meditating.

By that time they became so much transfigured that they could stand to be pricked by silver needles on the Big Day. It is important that their sacrifice should be made without blood and pain.

Young girls and women are only pricked by a needle, with a symbol of god muruga, on their tongue. If they have a bigger sin, they have to carry a milk-jug on the top of their head during the pilgrimage.

Men who have much sin and perhaps illness, can bear really painful things. Besides piercing the face, they also pierce their chest and back with silver needles. Who needs more, will hang lemon ballasts on their hips, bellies, waist.

Furthermore, to make it more difficult, they drag a rolling altar after themselves.

After the upsetting things in the church garden, they start the colourful march to several kilometres distance. Pilgrims are accompanied by relatives, friends, helping their difficult way. They sprinkle water on the asphalt in the 40 degrees hot weather, easing torture.

Muruga is satisfied and happy, if he sees that pilgrims do all these without any pain, and without blood , after removing the hooks and needles from the skin.

And the milk on the head of women did not get sour... If yes, all was in vain.

Men are men, here as well, they are not insensitive pincushions.

I was „lucky" to see some tear drops and pursing lips, and after the ceremony I could also see accidentally some boxes of preserved milk.

Well, Muruga also needs to keep space with the 21th century.

In spite of these facts, Mauritius is not only a simple exotic place, where there are some waterfalls, the Grand Bay, and a mountain, like one of my tourist fellows said..

The rest will be told by my photos.

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Hi there!

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http://jpgmag.com/stories/10508

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5 responses

  • Sanjeev Yadav

    Sanjeev Yadav said (1 Feb 2009):

    nice collections

  • Alexandru Iedu

    Alexandru Iedu gave props (5 Mar 2009):

    GREAT DOCUMENTARY WORK ... GREAT PHOTO's & GREAT STORY. VOTE IT ...

  • Natalia Presztolanszky

    Natalia Presztolanszky said (7 Mar 2009):

    Thanks for it! :-)

  • dp *

    dp * gave props (15 Jul 2009):

    Lovely find, story and photos, I enjoyed the show. dp

  • Jason

    Jason   gave props (8 Sep 2009):

    Good job Natalia! Love the photos and the story!!

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