Holi Festival of Colours, Durban South Africa 2

Easter weekend is over and that means it’s goodbye to the wonderful Festival Of Chariots in Durban until next year.

Be sure to visit the Hare Krishna temples in Chatsworth and Phoenix.

Click here to see the bulk of the photos from the Festival Of Chariots Durban 2011.

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Isipingo Mariamman Temple

We woke up early on Saturday the 30th of March and the ladies set about preparing a large sumptuous pot of vegetable biryani.

At about 11:15 we arrived at the Isipingo Mariamman Temple and attended to prayers before returning to the vehicle to feed  approximately seventy members of the public (the pot emptied quickly and I have already threatened to return next year with a pot at least twice the size).

Unfortunately, no photography was allowed inside the temple but I will try and convince the guardians there to let me in one day to take some “free” photos for their use and mine (on this blog only).

The inside of the temple grounds and prayer building is beautiful and well worth a visit.

Ulwazi provides the following information:

“The celebration of Easter is generally associated and related to the people of Christian faith, however in Durban with our mixed cultures of diversity, Easter also marks an important period for local Durban Hindus. It is referred to as an annual pilgrimage and brings hundreds of Hindus together to pay homage to the deity Goddess Mariamman at the Isipingo Mariamman Temple on the south of Durban or the Mount Edgecombe Temple in the North of Durban as tradition.

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The tradition of paying homage to the temple during the Easter period was started by the Indian indentured labourers who had the opportunity to visit the temple when their white sugar cane plantation owners went overseas during the Easter holidays.

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The other reasoning is that at this time Hindus pay tribute and gratitude to the Goddess for good health and prosperity. It is believed that the goddess blessed and healed sick people in South India during drought and an outbreak of measles, the visit to the temple also co-relates to the porridge prayer festivals done at home, it is the same deity that is worshipped during the porridge prayer festival.

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It is only during Easter these temples are open to the public and it is more a tradition that was passed on from generation to generation. The Mariamman Temple in Isipingo rail was a private owned temple built by Mr Narainsamy in the early 1860s. It is said to be built over a puthu or a mount that is believed to be a home of a sacred snake goddess that is a form of Mother Mariamman. For Hindus, forming a temple on these sites would be more auspicious.

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The temple at Isipingo was taken over by Narainsamy’s wife and son when he died in 1914. The festival was held over the Easter weekend and drew around 13,000 Indian labourers by train only. They would offer chickens to sacrifice, money, fruits, milk and eggs to the puthu. They would also bath the idol of Mariamman in the temple and perform hourly prayers. The temple use to be open for 24 hours at that time. The same rituals applied to the temple in Mount Edgecombe which was built by Mr Kistappa Reddy who came to Durban as an indentured labourer.

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The trend still exists and every year in Durban presently, during Easter Hindus make a trip to the Isipingo temple to pay tribute and worship Mother Mariamman. The worshippers buy fruit and milk and little idols that represent a male or female and place them in a basket.

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The idols are used to ask the goddess for good health. Some devotees offer saris, eggs or chickens to sacrifice in addition. The people that offer chickens have it turned around them and thrown onto the temple roof, where it is later sacrificed and the blood offered to Mariamman to appease her. They go around the temple three times and join a line that leads into the temple.

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Before they enter the temple they offer the decorated puthu the milk and proceed into the temple to perform their final worship. The sacred cobra, a form of the Mariamman is said to be inside the mount and does not reveal its presence and the person that sights the cobra if it comes out, is said to be fortunate.

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The temple environment is buzzing around this time and there are people who cook food and feed on the temple parking premises as a means of charity. There are also now stalls at the temple with people walking around and shopping for both clothing and edible items”.

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Festival Of Chariots Durban 2013 ~ 5

Easter weekend is nearly over and that means it’s time to say goodbye to the wonderful Festival Of Chariots in Durban until next year.

Be sure to visit the temple in Chatsworth and Phoenix.

This is my favourite festival and therefore one that I attend every year unless I am out of town.

Click here to see the bulk of the photos.

Below is another photo that I took at Festival Of Chariots Durban 2011.

IMG_2746 (Large)

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Holi Festival of Colours, Durban South Africa

Easter weekend is almost over and that means it’s time to say goodbye to the wonderful Festival Of Chariots in Durban until next year.

Be sure to visit the Hare Krishna temples in Chatsworth and Phoenix.

This is my favourite festival and therefore one that I attend every year unless I am out of town.

Click here to see the bulk of the photos from the Festival Of Chariots Durban 2011.

This afternoon Holi (Festival of Colours) formed part of the Festival Of Chariots celebrations on Durban’s North Beach.

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My poor Canon 550D got soaked in multiple colours and at one stage the flash sensor started playing up.

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Not one more word from me; the photos tell the story..

Wikipedia provides the following information:

“The word Holi originated from “Holika”, sister of Hiranyakashipu. The festival of Holi is celebrated because of a story in the old Hindu religion. In Vaishnavism, Hiranyakashipu is the great king of demons, and he had been granted a boon by Brahma, which made it almost impossible for him to be killed.

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The boon was due to his long penance, after which he had demanded that he not be killed “during day or night; inside the home or outside, not on earth or in the sky; neither by a man nor an animal; neither by astra nor by shastra”. Consequently, he grew arrogant and attacked the Heavens and the Earth. He demanded that people stop worshipping gods and start praising respectfully to him.

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According to this belief, Hiranyakashipu’s own son, Prahlada, was a devotee of Vishnu. In spite of several threats from Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada continued offering prayers to Vishnu. He was poisoned by Hiranyakashipu, but the poison turned to nectar in his mouth. He was ordered to be trampled by elephants yet remained unharmed. He was put in a room with hungry, poisonous snakes and survived.

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All of Hiranyakashipu’s attempts to kill his son failed. Finally, he ordered young Prahlada to sit on a pyre in the lap of Holika, Hiranyakashipu’s demoness sister, who also could not die because she had a boon preventing her from being burned by fire.

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Prahlada readily accepted his father’s orders, and prayed to Lord Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, everyone watched in amazement as Holika burnt to death, while Prahlada survived unharmed. The salvation of Prahlada and burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi.

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In Mathura, where Krishna grew up, the festival is celebrated for 16 days (until Rangpanchmi) in commemoration of the divine love of Radha for Krishna. The festivities officially usher in spring, the celebrated season of love.

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Every year, thousands of Hindus participate in the festival Holi. The festival has many purposes. First and foremost, it celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colors and saying farewell to winter. It also has a religious purpose, commemorating events present in Hindu mythology. During this event, participants hold a bonfire, throw colored powder at each other, and celebrate wildly.

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Rangapanchami occurs a few days later on a Panchami (fifth day of the full moon), marking the end of festivities involving colors.

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The main day, Holi, also known as Dhuli in Sanskrit, or Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing scented powder and perfume at each other. Bonfires are lit on the eve of the festival, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi), after which holika dahan prayers are said and praise is offered.

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The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his devotion.

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Like Holika Dahan,Kama Dahanam is celebrated in South India.

Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March. In 2009, Holi (‘Dhulandi’) was on March 11 and Holika Dahan was on March 10. In 2010, Holi was on March 1 and Holika Dahan was on February 28. In 2011, Holi was on March 20 and Holika Dahan was on March 19. In 2012, Holi was on March 8.

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In most areas, Holi lasts about two days. Holi lowers (but does not remove completely) the strictness of social norms, which includes gaps between age, gender, status, and caste.

Together, the rich and poor, women and men, enjoy each other’s presence on this day. No one expects polite behavior; as a result, the atmosphere is filled with excitement, fun and joy”.

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Festival Of Chariots Durban 2013 ~ 4

Easter weekend is upon us and that means it’s time for the wonderful Festival Of Chariots in Durban.

This is my favourite festival and therefore one that I attend every year unless I am out of town.

Click here to see the bulk of the photos.

Below is another photo that I took at Festival Of Chariots Durban 2011.

IMG_2745 (Large)

If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:-

Festival Of Chariots Durban 2013 ~ 3

Easter weekend is upon us and that means it’s time for the wonderful Festival Of Chariots in Durban.

This is my favourite festival and therefore one that I attend every year unless I am out of town.

Click here to see the bulk of the photos.

Below is another photo that I took at Festival Of Chariots Durban 2011.

IMG_2744 (Large)

If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:-

Festival Of Chariots Durban 2013 ~ 2

Easter weekend is upon us and that means it’s time for the wonderful Festival Of Chariots in Durban.

This is my favourite festival and therefore one that I attend every year unless I am out of town.

Click here to see the bulk of the photos.

Below are two other photos that I took at Festival Of Chariots Durban 2011.

IMG_2743 (Large) IMG_2747 (Large)

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