Annette Wilke: Tamil temple festival culture in Germany
For the Tamil migrants it was a great feast and for continental Europe a novelty altogether to witness the consecration of the first Hindu temple in the traditional style of South Indian architecture in July 2002 in the industrial area of Hamm-Uentrop (Germany). It is so far the largest Hindu temple on the continent and developed into a Hindu pilgrimage place not only for Tamil Hindus, but also for local natives who enjoy finding India next door. Nowadays, the temple is internationally known. Its yearly temple festivals and big-style Ter processions attract upto 20.000 visitors and pilgrims from Germany and all over Europe. Some fourteen years ago the processions (in the city of Hamm) aroused public dissent, nowadays they are greatly enjoyed by Tamil migrants as well a members of the majority society. On the Ter-day host and guest society get inverted, and over the past ten years the Ter-day became an important meeting-point of the transnationally spread Tamil community and the young generation. The paper addresses ritual reconstruction, change and exchange in the new home land, and also pays particular attention to local and global aspects of identity formation. I will argue for a strictly interactional perspective, because the temple and its processions have had as well impact on religious identities of German locals since 2002 (for instance the formation of a “German parish”).