Thimithi also known as Theemidhi and Theemithi, is a very popular fire walking festival especially celebrated among Hindus. The festival is believed to have originated from Southern India, that is celebrated during the month of Aipasi (or Aippasi) of the Tamilian calendar.
According to the Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated in the months of October November.
It is one festival that is widely celebrated not only in India, but countries if Singapore, Malaysia, and other South africn countries comprising large south Indian populatation.
There are many events apart from the traditional coal walking ceremony that is performed during this festival of Thimithi. Some of the popular and widely observed events are:
* One of the very interesting part of the Thimithi ceremonies is the enactment of scenes from Mahabharata by many devotees and drama troupes.
* A grand prayer session is held to offer prayers to Periyachi, who is one of the most important deities of Meriyamman’s community. This prayer session is especially to ask for the goddess’s blessings so that no mishap occurs during the festival celebration.
* Devotees also perform a grand wedding ceremony of Arjuna and Draupadi on this day.
* Normally after the wedding ceremony, there is a simulation ceremony where Hijra is sacrificed as was done before the war of Mahabharata, to ensure victory in the battle.
* Mariammn is given a milk bath. There is a belief associated with this customary bath, that, all sins by a man will be washed away.
* To celebrate the victory of Pandavas in the 18 day long battle of Mahbharata, two days before the festival of Thimithi, a silver chariot procession is organized.In Singapore, this chariot procession takes place on the Saturday and Sunday preceding Thimithi around the Telong Blangah and Bukit Merah districts.
* A night before the final day Thimithi festival, a red hot bed of embers is prepared that is kept hot throughout the Festival day. Generally, the ceremony of fire-walking stretches for about 4-5 hours.
Having in view all the rituals and customs associated with the festival it can be weel concluded that the complete festival of Thimithi is based on faith and beliefs. All ceremonies are optional, it all depends on the devotion and faith of the devotees to perform these rituals.