Cavadee Mauritius Style

I am happy to come back home after my 10 weeks long escapade to Mysore. My mobility has unfortunately not improved and yet I had a good time and wonderful Karnataka experience.

My India immersion does not end with the trip, as the 1st February,the day following my arrival  is the festival of Cavadee. Another occasion to search & deepen my knowledge of the Indian culture or shall I say the Mauritian Indian customs!
I quote below  an interesting extract of what I found on a website:

The ‘kavadee’ most commonly seen in Mauritius are the ‘pushpa kavadee’ (flower kavadee) and ‘paal kavadee’ (milk kavadee). But there are other types of kavadee as well. In earlier days some devotees used to carry fish as offering instead of milk. On the eve of the festival the penitent who had vowed to carry the ‘Matchak Kavadee’ (fish kavadee) would be shown in a dream the exact place where he would find two fishes. The next morning he would go to the place and would easily catch the fish in a piece of linen used as a net. He would cut each into two halves and put them separately in two earthen pots containing water which he would then tie to his kavadee.

After the ceremony at the temple, the devotee would go back to the river and open the pots. The two fishes would have come back to life in the meantime and the separated halves would have joined together and the fish would leap out of the pots into the river. It was on the occasion of the

‘Sittireye Parouvam’ in 1967 that the ‘fish kavadee’was last performed by an old man named Manmootoo Chellambrum at St Hubert. This miracle was witnessed by hundreds of people among whom were several journalists who published the feat in their papers”.

Tamils worship Muruga with great love and devotion. Many Tamils are called after one of the several names of Muruga: Vel, Velan, Moorghen or Murugan, Soopaya short for Subramanian or Soopramanien, Kadirvelan, Kumaran or Kumara, Thandayudapaani, Palani, Palanisami, Palamiyandee, Swamynaden, Ku marasawmy, Kandasami, Kandan, Sooben, Muth uvel, Mootoosamy, Armoogum or Arumugam.

The Muruga cult is more widespread in Tamil Nadu than anywhere else in India, although worship is offered in many parts of North India as well. People vow to carry a kavadee for various reasons: because of serious health problems or

other failures, or as penance for wrongs done to someone else. There is a ‘janma kavadee’ i.e lifelong kavadee which parents vow when their children suffer from an incurable disease.

In the opinion of some learned people ‘kavadee’ may represent man’s unconscious desire to lay at the feet of God all his burdens and go away with His blessings. It is also a form of purificatory sacrifice — by self-inflicted suffering the penitent washes away his sins and becomes ‘pure’.

Kavadee also symbolises the triumph of good over evil. According to the Hindus our era is the ‘Kali Yug’ (the black era) dominated by irreligion, injustice, violence and evil. The ‘vel’ of Muruga symbolises the spear of victory that will eventually restore peace and harmony in the world. It will destroy arrogance and hypocrisy, violence and injustice — and man will emerge from the ashes of sin and evil like ldumban redeemed.

The Tamils here seem to have evolved their cultural heritage or was it possible for their forefathers were a different breed from their own village unique tradition?


#1 veer ruben on 06.09.08 at 5:49 am

just want to say that you have written a very instructive article about Lord Kartikeya or Muruga and His glory.You have also very briefly but rightly described the lessons we, hindus and tamilians learn from taking a closer look at the life of Idumban etc. well done

#2 joseph on 08.02.08 at 3:10 pm

Lovely to live in a multicultural country! and be able to capture from the richness of so many cultures…Seizing the opportunies available is regretfully not always the case..I am a disciple of arousing this very conscious of drawing wealth from presumed differences.

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