Saturday, April 20, 2019


(DEVOTEES AT THE TEMPLE IN MIDRAND, JOHANNESBURG) Thousands of Indian-origin South Africans once again flocked to temples on Easter Friday to partake in Kavady ceremonies and offer prayers in yet another show of their commitment to spiritual upliftment. I attended a Kavady ceremony at the Madhya Kailash Temple in Midrand, Johannesburg, where more than 150 devotees participated in the four hour service.
(KAVADY DEVOTEES AT THE TEMPLE IN MIDRAND) I noticed that while the Kavady ceremony was in progress, other people visited the temple to offer their prayers on Easter Friday. Similarly, thousands of people swarmed other temples in the Johannesburg-Pretoria region; at Mount Edgecombe, Isipingo and other temples in KwaZulu-Natal. This phenomenon of Indian-origin South Africans visiting temples on Easter Friday and the rest of the Easter weekend has its origins in the early days of our indentured ancestors. When the white overlords and bosses used to attend church services at Easter, our forefathers and mothers were given the free time from the sugar cane fields. Our ancestors used this free time to attend prayer services at their little wood and iron temples all along the north and south coasts of the then Natal Colony. Then when they built huge temples in the early 1900s, our ancestors began a tradition to congregate in their thousands, especially at Isipingo and Mount Edgecombe. During this period, it had become a must for Indian-origin South Africans not only to visit and offer their prayers at Mount Edgecombe and Isipingo in their tens of thousands, but also to attend the Tamil and Hindi concerts and dramas. It used to be both a spiritual and joyous occasion for the people. Since the dawn of our democracy in 1994, when large numbers of people moved down to the Johannesburg-Pretoria region to advance their socio-economic situations, the numbers visiting Isipingo has dwindled down. The large turn out of devotees at the Madhya Kailash Temple in Midrand and other temples in the Johannesburg-Pretoria during the Easter weekend is a clear indication of the increased numbers of Indian-origin South Africans now located here.
(DEVOTEES AT THE MIDRAND TEMPLE) But the visitors to Mount Edgecombe Shri Mariammen Temple has increased in numbers and today more than 250 000 people visit the religious site annually. The tradition of the turn out of the people during the Easter weekend is just yet another example of the enormous contribution that our ancestors have made to the spiritual and cultural upliftment of Indian-origin South Africans. ends -

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