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Fire Walking/Trampling

Shortly after dawn the Tovil dancers and the clairvoyant did fire walking over the fire that had been made up for the purpose to the side of the Performance Area. On this occasion no one else Fire Walked. The fire had been kindled from about 3am  to prepare the embers. It was built from cinnamon wood which gave a pleasant aromatic perfume.

The main officiant supervised the  kindling of the fire. First he broke these specially collected sticks . Then he returned to the toran and fashioned sticks and tore four thin strips off a larger piece of white cloth that he then twisted possibly tying a coin as an offering, into one. Then he returned to the fire and stoked the fire with his feet whist still holding the twisted strips of white cloth.

In the meantime the  clairvoyant was  in  his devale in  the background. He could be heard chanting whilst he predicted their futures to those consulting him.

You Tube Video Links

Devol Madua Part 7 Preparations & Fire Walking - Gini Pagima


The Tovil Dancers performed Fire Walking Dance

When the embers were ready for the Fire Walking. The main officiant then took back the red shawl from the clairvoyant and placed it around his own shoulders. He was still holding the coconut leaves and he started to sing about what they were doing. He stood one end of the fire and the other tovil dancer the other.Then he threw the coconut leaves into the embers and then trampled through them twice, the clairvoyant then followed suit and then the assistant who had been tending the fire. They trampled back and forth through the glowing embers.

First the officiant Fire Walked.  NB the protective coconut leaf he had first placed in the  embers.

The Clairvoyant Fire Walking

Pre Fire- Walking Dance

This  dance started with the 3 dancers dancing to the drumbeat. They started slowly near the fire. The Clairvoyant had now returned to his mat beside the Performance Area. The dancing became must faster with individual twirling. The main officiant who was now dancing with them, broke off from time to time to instruct the Assistant to fan the flames of the fire to achieve the necessary embers.

During the dance, the main officiant put one stick in the flames and then threw it into  middle of where they were dancing. And then returned to fan the flames more rapidly as the assistant was not doing it fast enough.

Two dancers continued their dancing focusing on facing the toran whilst the main officiant was preparing things in the toran. He then rejoined the dance holding a bunch of coconut leaves that would be placed in the embers when they fire walked.

The dance finished and they waited for the embers to die down. The Clairvoyant’s wife had now rejoined the clairvoyant on the mat. The officiant who was holding a bunch of coconut leaves gave them the red scarf into which the Clairvoyant tied a coin for an offering.

Then the other tovil dancer took  a large lighted torch from the toran and threw fire all around the trampled embers, to the accompaniment of the drumbeat, He then did this around the Performance Area, then  the clairvoyant’s Devale then the house. He was followed by an assistant with the dummala.

When he came out of the  house  he returned to the Performance Area throwing more fire and then threw fire around the toran and shrines. As he was doing this the drumbeat became faster and so did his dance in front of the toran.

The dancer bowed respectfully towards the toran at the end of the dance.