Thaipusam – a feast for the eyes

Events, What's New — By mariannerogerson on January 18, 2011 at 7:06 am

This week sees one Singapore’s most exciting and visually stunning festivals take place – Thaipusam. This Hindu festival of thanksgiving is held on the day of the full moon during the Tamil month Thai (usually January in our calendar), which this year falls on this Thursday 20th January.

Thaipusam honours the Hindu deity Subramanya, also known as Lord Muruga, the son of Shiva. Devotees take part in a procession, to give thanks for having their wishes and hopes fulfilled.

What makes this procession so enthralling for the spectators, is that in order to show their dedication these hundreds of devotees impose various forms of self-torture, either by piercing their chest or cheeks with spikes, or carrying a Kavadi – a cage-like structure, usually adorned with peacock feathers, Hindu deities and brass bells, which is carried via various body piercings.


They also carry milk pots which are offered to Lord Muruga on arrival at their destination – the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple.


The kavadi-bearers observe several rituals throughout this time – vows of silence and celibacy, and abstain from most foods, intoxicating drinks or drugs, shaving or wearing shoes.

The procession takes the devotees along a 4.5 kilometre walk from the Sri Perumal Temple at Serangoon Road to the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple at Tank Road. 


If you would like to experience this fascinating festival, then the best place to catch the action is probably Serangoon Road in Little India – just don’t forget your camera!

All photos courtesy of WilliamCho/Flickr


Tags: "Little India", cultural, Events, free, Singapore

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