Devotees sit in rows while a priest smashes coconuts over their heads as part of a thanksgiving festival in southern India.
Footage filmed on August 4 in Mettu Mahadanapuram, Tamil Nadu, shows Hindu-Tamil worshippers during the annual Aadi Perukku festival undergoing the painful-looking ritual. More than 1,000 devotees took part in the practice at the Sri Mahalakshmi Temple as part of a celebration of the life-giving properties of water.
The smashing of coconuts does cause injuries to members of the public who eschew medical treatment for fear of attracting the anger from the deity. Instead, helpers are on hand to apply sacred ash called ‘viboothi’ and turmeric to wounds.
The practice has drawn criticism from authorities such as the State Human Rights Commission due to the number of injuries sustained during the festival.
That is an interesting religion.
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