25-people were injured on Switzerland Island while following a ritual of walking on hot coals as an office team-building exercise.
In the latest case employees of a Swiss ad agency got injured Tuesday evening while walking on hot coals. According to reports ten ambulances, two emergency medical teams and police officers reached Lake Zurich the place where the incident happened and twenty-five out of thirteen people were hospitalized with severe injuries while the rest were given medical treatments immediately.
A spoke person of the company stated ‘None of the employees was forced to walk on the hot embers.’
Fire-Walking Ritual in Switzerland or many other countries:
Walking on hot embers has been a ritual for several thousands of years. Cultures around the globe have been practising this ritual for rites of healing, initiation and faith.
It has been practising in:
- The Sawai clan on the island of Beqa.
- San Pedro Manrique, a village of Soria.
- Eastern Orthodox Christians in parts of Greece.
- Tribes throughout Polynesia.
Many social theorists argued that the performance of the events such as Fire-walking persists because it has some effects on basic functions such as team building, social attraction and so on.
A scientific study was conducted during this whole fire-walking practice and it turns out that there is a rhythmic heart rate between the practice and the person watching the ritual. This research suggested that there is a physiological foundation for collective religious rituals, through the alignment of emotional states, which strengthens group dynamics and forges a common identity among participants.
Fire-Walking in Sri Lanka:
The ritual in Sri Lanka is also called Thimithi where participants invoke the goddess Draupadi for her spirit to do the impossible (walk on hot coals only after hanging from hooks). It is also practised there to test one’s true faith in the spirit.
Risks when fire-walking:
- People have burned their feet when they remained in the fire for too long enabling the thermal conductivity of the embers to catch up.
- One is more likely to be burned when running through the embers since running pushes one’s feet deeper into the embers, resulting in the top of the feet being burnt.
- Foreign objects in the embers may result in burns. Metal is especially dangerous since it has a high thermal conductivity.
- Embers which have not burned long enough can burn feet more quickly. Embers contain water, which increases their heat capacity as well as their thermal conductivity. The water must be evaporated already when the firewalk starts.
- Wet feet can cause embers to cling to them, increasing the exposure time.
I hope that the injured people during this ritual will gain health fast and start their work like before.
Let me know if you have any kind of this ritual in your country too.