Thousands celebrate kavady festival

2018-04-12 06:01
Devotees carry their kavady during the festival.PHOTO: supplied

Devotees carry their kavady during the festival.PHOTO: supplied

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THOUSANDS of devotees took to the street in Tongaat to participate in the 109th annual Punguni Woothira kavady festival held on April 1.

The event was hosted at the Brake Village temple, one of the oldest temples in the southern hemisphere.

The kavady procession started at the temple in the morning and proceeded to the Outspan Ground where the devotees prayed.

Young and old carried their kavadies back to the temple after the prayer.

Chanting and dancing in the road, trustees of the temple led the proceedings back to the temple.

The temple celebrated its annual Punguni Woothira Kavady Mahotsavam over a ten-day period culminating with the kavady.

Temple spokesperson, Jakes Raman said the kavady goes back to their forebears who only got time off from the sugar cane plantations over the Easter period.

“For the 2018 celebrations, hundreds of devotees carried kavady with 42 devotees pulling small chariots with hooks pierced in their backs, together with many carrying bangas and ‘paal kodums’- containers for the carrying of milk,” Raman said.

The temple has many devotees both nationally and internationally using the Brake Village kavady as a point of pilgrimage.

Devotees hailed from throughout KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng.

Raman said: “International devotees hailed from the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Meals for over 30 000 devotees were prepared over the 10-day period. The success of the 2018 kavady was largely due to all our donors, sponsors and the many volunteers associated with the temple.”

He said that the festival was managed by the 11 member management committee together with the board of trustees and priest Guru Ravi Iyer.

The kavady is held at the Brake Village temple in the last month of the Tamil calendar and is referred to as the Punguni Woothira Kavady Mahosatvam.

It is traditionally held over the Easter weekend.

Raman said the kavady is in reverence to the Hindu God, Lord Muruga, who is a symbol of perseverance and hope.

Raman said: “Over the 10-day period, the devotee abstains from eating meat, drinking alcohol and other worldly pleasures and focuses on the divine.

Some devotees regard the carrying of kavady as a burden and place it at the foot of Lord Muruga.

“Other devotees carry the kavady as an act of thanksgiving in celebration of their personal successes in their life’s journey,” he said.

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