CHANGES TO THE 2020 FIREWALKING FESTIVAL DUE TO COVID-19 MEASURES

17 July 2020

  1. The annual Firewalking Festival is a significant religious event for Hindus in Singapore. Ceremonies and events relating to the festival and the sacred crossing of a firepit take place at Sri Mariamman Temple (SMT), Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple. The festival usually spans three months, starting from late July and culminating in the Firewalking ritual, this year, on 1 November 2020. The festival is in honour of Goddesses Sri Mariamman and Sri Drowpathai Amman, the presiding deities of the Temple.

  2. SMT will continue with the Firewalking Festival this year, to avoid any break in this significant, century-old religious festival. SMT is planning the Festival based on the prevailing Phase 2 guidelines, as what the guidelines closer to the Festival date and its related activities remain uncertain.

  3. The following key changes will be implemented for the Firewalking Festival in 2020.

    1. This year’s Firewalking Festival will be shortened to one month from the usual 3 months. The Kodiyetram (festival flag hoisting) will be on 5 October 2020, instead of the originally scheduled 26 July 2020. All related ceremonies will be completed on 5 November 2020. Despite the shortened duration, all preceding events relating to the Firewalking Festival will be conducted during the compressed 1-month duration.

    2. Adhering to the limits in the number of people who can be within the temple complex and maintaining Safe Distancing measures, the activities and events relating to the Festival will be conducted with limited staff and volunteers who have specific roles to play in these activities and events. Only those who are involved in these roles will be allowed to cross the firepit.

    3. Consequently, there will be no opportunity for the devotees to fulfil their vows this year through Neirthikadan like Kumbiduthandam, Angaprathakshnam, crossing the firepit or circumambulation of the firepit. SMT appeals to all devotees to view the Festival and its related activities virtually and postpone fulfilling their vows till next year.

    4. Firewalking Festival related Chariot processions, if permitted, will take place without any stops at the usual locations. Thus, there will not be any offerings (Ratha Varisai Kannikai) this year. 

  4. As usual, the Firewalking ceremony will be livestreamed for all to see from home.

  5. SMT appeals to all devotees for their understanding and support for the changes to the preceding ceremonies and the Firewalking Festival day which are made in the context of the prevailing and continuing COVID-19 situation.

  6. Devotees can contact SMT or visit the following social media sites for more information on the new arrangements for the 2020 Firewalking Festival:

    1. www.heb.org.sg

    2. www.firewalking.sg

    3. www.facebook.com/hinduendowmentsboard

Contact Details:

Sri Mariamman Temple
Tel: 62234064
Email: [email protected]

 


18 July 2020

Clarification from Hindu Endowments Board on Firewalking Festival 2020 Participation

HEB hopes to put false assumptions to rest by clarifying that it is NOT true that selected volunteers, officials and committee members are allowed to cross the fire pit when there will be no public participation for Firewalking 2020.

 

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, the temple is negotiating with authorities for all religious ceremonies of the Firewalking festival to be carried out. For the ceremonies to take place, in addition to priests/pandarams, only those volunteers who are part of the Karagam contingent, who are involved in the various enactments of Mahabharatha scenes and those directly involved in the rituals will cross the fire pit. They are crossing the fire pit to complete the religious rituals and not as individuals fulfilling their vows. With the current guidelines on number of devotees allowed within temples and following all safe distancing protocols, it is not possible to accommodate more than the above within the Temple. No one will be allowed to cross the fire pit to fulfil a personal vow this year.

 

Despite there being COVID-19 restrictions, we as Hindus should appreciate that temples are open for devotees and festivals including Aadi Poojas, Navarathiri, Purattasi and Firewalking can take place at our temples. All of us stand to benefit from the blessings as a result of the festivals and ceremonies carried out. Once again, we seek the understanding and support of the devotees during these trying times.


 


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