Ayushman Lahiri (B3-Period 7)
Extra Credit Reflection on Sri Mariamman Temple Visit
I went on Sunday from 10-11 AM
When I arrived at the temple, I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who were there to pay witness to the fire walk on this momentous day. I got to the temple, took my shoes off and entered quietly hoping not to be noticed as the well-dressed foreigner . I quickly realized that even though they were simply dressed, social hierarchies played no part in this temple. All the people there were just praying and hoping to gain God’s blessings. I noticed people of mostly Indian descent but there were a few people who were Caucasian and here for sightseeing. When asked by me, a priest there stated that the pouring of milk only occurred in the morning at 3-4 AM. I was surprised because the reason I was going there was to experience the women pouring milk on the gods. However, the trip was not a lost cause and I learnt a great deal from going. The priest, an English speaker, spoke to me about how the cultural part of the fire walk would commence at precisely 7 PM, later that day, from a location a couple of kilometers away. The men would march on the streets chanting prayers until they finally arrived at the Sri Mariamman temple. Then, once they arrived, the fire walk would begin at midnight with a sea of spectators watching in awe. He said that there were going to be 3000 people in this group of firewalkers, No women or boys under the age of 16 could participate because of the cultural beliefs, not only safety precautions. I asked him how they could be sure of the age, he answered: “We can check passports if there is any doubt to whether the person qualifies for the fire walk. The priest went on to tell me about how injuries were not common in the fire walk and only 20 out of the 3000 walkers would be injured in the process of the walk. The man told us that people made wishes to God and then did the fire walk hoping that Gog would grant them...
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