May 5, 2013

Sittirai Cavadee in Mauritius

Sittirai Cavadee was celebrated in Mauritius Thursday, April 25th, 2013
This is the second main Cavadee celebration of the Tamil calendar and is celebrated in the same way as  Taipoosum Cavadee - the main Cavadee - celebrated in January or February, depending on the full moon.
The festival commemorates the occasion when Hindu goddess Parvati gave God Murugan a VEL (spear) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadam.

Tamil devotees gathering at the Mariamman temple. 

The Cavadee is a festive wooden structure, usually shaped like an arch. Devotees decorate the Cavadee at home, often with help from relatives, friends and neighbors. The wooden structure is decorated with young coconut leaves, peacock feathers, flowers and limes. The Cavadee symbolises a mountain and has an effigy of Lord Murugan at the top or inside.  
The size of Cavadee's varies, some can be as tall as 3 metres, while others are smaller.
Beautifully decorated cavadees
Musicians leading the procession from the temple
The beat of the drums goes into your spine!
 Groups of devotees returning from the temple.
While many - often males - carry the Cavadee, females carry brass pots with fresh milk. The milk is carried to the temple where it is poured onto Lord Murugan's statuette and thereafter shared with the public. It is said the milk offered never goes sour. 
Many devotees have their tongue, cheeks and body (chest, back, legs, arms) pierced with special Murugan needles called VEL. Physical and mental harmony is important to ensure no bleeding nor any pain is felt.
Another group of drummers, playing on ravannes (drums)
This guy dancing....
...wearing shoes with nails...
A devotee carrying brass pot with milk...
Vels being pierced into the body

A young devotee with pierced body. 
In the evening a traditional Tamil vegetarian meal is served.
If you want to learn more about Thaipoosum / Sittirai Cavadee celebrations in Mauritius, visit Mysterra Magazine.

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