Observe: A Kali Pageant in India transforms devotees

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There are many fascinating religious festivals in India, and the same holiday is often celebrated in unique ways depending on local traditions. The Dussehra Festival in Kulasekarapattinam is a 12-day Shakti festival that looks and feels like a wild carnival to outsiders. Millions of followers and spectators rave about the small port town of Kulasekarapattinam, where thousands made elaborate costumes to take the form of the goddess Kali. Others dress as other mortals, such as gypsies, kings, or queens. Various dance and music troupes provide entertainment and temporary shops are also popular attractions.

The devotees, who wear costumes, ask the public for offerings to be made in the temple at the end of the festivities. However, taking the form of Kali for the Dussehra Festival is not an act of putting on. Tradition requires that one observe a 41-day fast before transforming into Kali's appearance. This transformation enables devotees to overcome and defeat their personal demons of pain, suffering and life challenges.

The festival begins on the new moon and ends with a theatrical recreation of the murder of the buffalo demon Mahishasura. This ceremony culminates in a night of trance, chaos and spiritual purification. A beautiful new video from Virtual Bharat captures the wild energy, absolute devotion and chaotic beauty of the festival.

Watch the following video (enable Subtitles to show subtitles):