Between April and September every year, Dravidian Hindus around Fiji seek favourable omens from the gods during the replanting of crops. To test their faith and devotion, many take part in one of the eighty or so Indian fire walking ceremonies that occur throughout rural Fiji. The build up to any ceremony is a two-week long process of denial and self-discipline to attain purification, culminating in a night of passionate dedication when the fire pit is lit. Before crossing the pit, the yellow-clad participants undergo body piercings, notably through the tongue and cheeks, bathe in either a river or the ocean and are finally physically whipped into a frenzy before strutting across the hot embers – not surprisingly a few participants end up in hospital. The most accessible of the ceremonies is held in August at the Mariamma Hindu Road Temple off Rewa Street.

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