Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 273, 365 Day Project

My wife recently picked up these flameless candles from Costco and added them to a holder we have that she places beside a little totem to "Our Lady of Health Vailankanni". It comes from a Shrine in Tamilnadu, India where three apparitions of Mother Mary at Vailankanni occurred. This is also unique since it is one of two only icons where Mother Mary is shown wearing a sari. Centuries of devotion to Mother Mary both by Hindus and Christians have evolved an amalgamation of practices borrowing elements from both religions. It is said that the portrayal of Virgin Mary as a curer of illness and a victor over all demonic forces is seen by local Hindus as an artribute equivalent of Hindu Goddess Mariamman. The practises include bathing in the sea, shaving heads, walking on knees or rolling in the shrine as a ritual.

It is also common to find traditions of offering a candle in the shape of the respective ailment- a heart in case of cardiac complications, a liver in case of jaundice, lungs in case of tuberculosis and so on. In case of the ailment getting cured, many bring with them small gold and silver replicas of parts of the body that has been cured to donate to the church. Devoties clad in orange (or saffron) robes.

Some times offering are sent in sealed bottles or big hollow bamboos duly closed and thrown in to the sea with the address of the shrine written on them. Such offerings are believed to reach the holy spot. (Information from Wikipedia)

I thought this might make for an interesting image using the candles so I took them down to the studio and photographed it using Camera+ in the iPhone. Very little post processing was done on this image.

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