Thursday, August 13, 2009

'Chedil kuththy kaavady'; Avissawella, Sri Lanka.

'Kaavady' (Kaavu - Thady - Tamil) is carried by a devotee to a Hindu God/Goddess, to fulfill a vow taken to that particular diety. This is done after the devotee prepares himself/herself, by being on a vegetarian diet for a specified period and being not tainted by 'Thudakku' - Tamil, 'Killa' -Sinhalese. The 'Kaavady' is carried on the shoulder of the devotee and he/she is expected to dance and sing in ecstasy, while taking part in a procession. The beat of the drums, the music on the flute, the sprinkling of water using the leaves of the margosa tree and the fumes of incense, produce a trance state in the devotee. Quite often the body is pierced in various places. Here you see the skin pierced on the back of the trunk of a 'kaavady' carrier, with fish-hooks. The fish-hooks are attached to a rope and the devotee dances, putting tension on the rope held by an accomplice.