The Assistant Minister for Women,  Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon Veena Bhatnagar officiated at the fire lighting ceremony which is part of the five day annual program at the Sita Ram Dropati Temple  at Bilalevu  in Sigatoka on Friday. Hindu devotees conducted their annual fire-walking ceremony on Sunday. They walked on the hot burning charcoal with the supernatural blessings by the Goddess Devi Mata.
 
Bhatnagar highlighted that the 2013 Constitution under Chapter 2: Bill of Rights (22) guarantees a Fijian’s right to freedom of religion;  conscience and belief provided we do not impose it on others. She said that Fiji is a country of different religious beliefs and cultures where people of all races are welcome.
 
Bhatnagar said that the large turnout of people to witness this significant event of the 5 day celebration is an indication of faith and belief in God as we are always guided by our belief and faith. She said that no human being can live in ‘isolation and their prosperity depends on the blessings from God.
 
“The devotees, throughout the week listened to the tales of the Goddess and enacted the life of the Goddess by “Thirkuttu” dance a night before the fire walking ceremony”, Hon. Bhatnagar said.
 
Bhatnagar stated that the Dropati Temple was built by followers and donors in 1956. Ever since, the Temple has grown and the Annual Fire Walking has since become an annual event in the Salad Bowl of Fiji. The thrill of it was reflected when the devotees overcame the pain and the heat of the fire leaving no marks of the hot charcoals and spikes.

 

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