The Hindus of the Indian Ocean island of Reunion celebrate the Dusshere festival, signifying the triumph of good over evil, in the month of January.
GV People gathered around bed of hot ashes, as group of musicians sing and play (2 shots)
SV Effigies are carried through the crowd
GV Firewalkers, some wearing colourful headdresses
GV Crowds watch as fire walkers parade through ashes (9 shots)
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Background: The Hindus of the Indian Ocean island of Reunion celebrate the Dusshere festival, signifying the triumph of good over evil, in the month of January. It is a colourful occasion during which processions representing isntalments of the Ramayanaa epic parade the streets. During this ceremony in Saint Pierre effigies of the 'evil ones' were masqueraded through the crowds. The legend tells of how Rama destroyed the demon King Ravana and his two evil sides to rescue his kidnaped bride, the lovely Sita. On being rescued, Sita was subjected to the 'fire trial', during which she had to walk through flames to establish her purity, However, the flames did not harm her, proving beyond doubt that she hadn't been contaminated by the evil influence on the demon king. Fire, symbolised by the hot ashes, represents purity or "good". The fire walkers, many of whom were fasting, then paraded over hot ashes in a purifying ritual. For the Indian community, who form the majority of Reunion's population of over half a million, the Dusshera festival is a highlights of their religious calendar.