garlands being whipped off devotee’s wrist
I’m in Udappu, crashing on the floor of a kovil. This is usually an ordinary fishing town, but during festival season it’s packed and alive. All the women are out in their best saris as the men – generally saronged and bare chested – tend to rites. Like almost anywhere in Sri Lanka people are open and friendly and generally unaware of how awesome they are. It’s festival season in Sri Lanka, from Jaffna to Kataragamar to Udappu to Kandy to Colombo. I’ve been in Udappu for a water festival, though I think this one involve more fire walking. Is pretty cool so far.
So far the local god has been given offerings, paraded around the main kovil, outside the main kovil and in and around the other kovils in town. Then four devotees were possessed by the spirits of the gods protecting the four corners of the fire walking pit. Note that this is only as far as I hear. There is a whole depth of ritual and culture I’m not aware of. It’s a Hindu festival and these are Tamil devotees, but anyone is welcome. I have learned a few more words of Tamil but I forgot them.
There are a few photos I got so far and managed to upload over the decent 3G in this somewhat remote town. Have some interesting video, including the kovil drum machine, but that will have to wait.
fellow entering bit of a trance
child ringing bell
god being escorted out of kovil