Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Thaipusam has always held a strange fascination for me. For one, I can't imagine doing it myself.

So what is it ? For my overseas friends, it's a Hindu festival that celebrates the birthday of a deity. It's also an occasion for thanksgiving & atonement. Devotees fast for days prior & on that day, go through a ritual of piercing their face, tongue, bodies before finally loading a kavadi on them. Then carrying this kavadi for several kilometers from one temple in Serangoon Road to another at Tank Road.

Want to find out more ? Carry on reading.

Going into the shops along Serangoon Road is like entering Aladdin's cave. You never know what you are going to find.

Alright back to Thaipusam. Along the specified route, free drinks & snacks are offered by the shopkeepers or organisations for everyone. The devotees walk barefooted & because the tarmac floor can get very hot in our weather, shopkeepers would splash water on the floor & also offer drinks.

Look at this beautiful little Indian girl with her gorgeous eyes.

Women & young children get involved in the procession by carrying milk buckets.

A simple kavadi

During the procession, the devotees are accompanied by family & friends who are singing & chanting & cheering them on. It helps to have moral support.

The more elaborate ones have many tiers decorated with peacock feathers & figures of deities & could weigh as much as 15 kg. Imagine carrying that & walking 4km in the heat barefooted while being pierced all over - that's faith.

These are little milk carriers that are hooked to the body. It's amazing how there's no bleeding & no pain. The more piercings the more merit points. The white powder on their bodies is holy ash which supposedly helps to numb the pain.

Kids, please don't try this at home.

It never fail to amaze me every time I witness this.

1 comment:

Beau Lotus said...

I think it's fascinating too and I admire their faith and devotion. But not sure that I'll be able to stomach the piercing. With age I get very queasy about such things...