Thimithi is the name of the annual Hindu fire walking ceremony which is a form of penance or thanksgiving in honour of the goddess Draupadi, heroine of the epic poem, the Mahabharata. Legend has it that she had to prove her innocence and fidelity by walking barefoot over hot coals.
Draupadi is a heroine of the epic poem Mahabharata, a princess whose husband lost her in a game of dice with his cousin, Duryodhana. Lord Krishna came to her rescue, but to add insult to injury her husband questioned her purity when she was returned, so to prove her innocence she walked across burning coals. It is belived that if a devotee is not pure, he or she will fail the test and be burnt.
Thimithi is held in the month of Aipasi, which is between the solar months of October and November. Celebrations begin at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India around 2a.m. and a priest leads a grand procession through the streets to the Sri Mariamman Temple (of the rain goddess) where the Thimithi takes place.
The fire walking usually begins around 4am and a priest is the first to brave the long pit of embers, followed by other devotees.