Thaipusam Kavadī – A Festival Helping Hindus in Mauritius Cope with Fear
With Hindus in Mauritius as a case study, this article will show how Thaipusam Kavadī, a festival of piercing and procession of ancient Tamil origin, has become not only a modern expression of religious affiliation in diaspora, but also a way of coping with fear by trying to gain dispensation for possible religious or ethical misconduct in a time and a place where religion has become compartmentalised. To understand this development, the article gives a short introduction to the overall theme of fear, including theoretical considerations as a prism to understand the factors at play. This is followed by an introduction to Hinduism in Mauritius from a general point of view. Then, using a particular case study and participant observations as a point of departure, the article will explore how Thaipusam Kavadī is conducted and what kind of meaning the participants attribute to their participation.