Hindu festival burns bright

IN AN inspiring reflection of South Africa's ethnic and cultural diversity, hundreds of members of Port Elizabeth's Hindu community brought an explosion of colour, sounds and smells to the Sathi Sanmarka Sungum Temple in Malabar on Saturday at the annual Fire Walking Festival.

Known as Theemidi in the Hindi vernacular, the late afternoon celebration was simultaneously sombre and deeply spiritual yet vibrant and pleasant, and attracted beautifully dressed devotees.

There were smiling, chattering onlookers, who included not only members of the Hindu community, but also a small group from the Church of Latter Day Saints and a sprinkling of curious "westernised" observers.

The temple marks the 25th anniversary of the festival this year.

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