In the month leading up to the Deepavali, many smaller festivals occur around the city. This weekend was the Theemithi Festival, where Hindu devotees firewalk at the Sri Mariamman Temple in Chinatown.
In Singapore, the celebrations begin at Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Kudavasal in Serangoon Road and the priest leads the grand procession of people through the streets to Sri Mariamman Temple in South Bridge Road where the actual tīmiti takes place. The priest starts the tīmiti by walking through the pit filled with hot burning wood with a karakattam "sacred water-filled pot" on his head. He is followed by male devotees intent on fulfilling their personal promises and proving their faith. The devotees may include a minority of non-Indians and non-Hindus.
From talking to people at the temple, one reason devotees firewalk is to ask for something from the gods, for example a man might carry his child through the coals to ask for the child to get better from an illness. Unfortunately I was only able to be in the temple before the firewalking actually started, but many people came to see the event as shown in the pictures above, and you can see how beautifully dressed all the women are.