Thaipusam

1/20/11

I witnessed Thaipusam today, a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community. Singapore has a huge Tamil population so this holiday is a very important one here. Devotees celebrate the victory of Murugan over Soorapadman on the full moon of the month of Thai. 

Thaipusam devotees carry kadavis, or "burdens," on a 4 kilometer procession during the day of the festival. Kadavis vary, but often involve a cage-like altar worn on the shoulders and the piercing of the skin with long needles. Devotees enter into a trance before they are pierced, and have prepared for the procession days in advance by fasting and praying. Participation in this procession is part of the deal if you pray to Murugan for something and your prayer comes true.

There are also participants who carry kadavis or make the procession to repent or to reaffirm their faith. You can read more about this amazing festival here
A view of the procession on its way to the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, where it ends 
Young women carrying pots of milk, which is also considered a kadavi
Men carrying pots of milk that have been hung on hooks pierced through their backs
Another devotee with piercings on his forehead, cheeks and arm
People observing the procession as we neared the temple
A view of the procession from the temple steps; the devotees walked 4 km to get here!
Musicians welcoming them into the temple

I am so humbled by the faith of the people who participated in the Thaipusam procession. I was moved to see them walking into the temple after carrying their heavy kadavis for such a long distance. 

I took a lot more photos, so I'll post the rest of my favorites tomorrow. 

10 comments:

  1. It really was a fabulous sight to see I was totally amazed byt the whole experience!

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  2. Incredible, but I'm squirming just looking at those pictures!!

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  3. Ok, all of your pics from this trip are incedible...like sould be in a mag!

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  4. apparently i can't type, sorry :)

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  5. Simply incredible shots...what a great job you did :) Even though I am from a Hindu family I find it hard to look at the piercings up close. It's quite unnerving.

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  6. Found your post via bookjunkie. Fascinating photos! Thanks for enlightening me on a religious ritual I was not familiar with. Really great shots!

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  7. That looks insane! I saw this and a similar one in the Phillipines in a documentary. It always amazes me what people do for a belief....

    Great photos by the way!

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  8. Found your post via bookjunkie. Fascinating photos! Thanks for enlightening me on a religious ritual I was not familiar with. Really great shots!

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  9. Ok, all of your pics from this trip are incedible...like sould be in a mag!

    ReplyDelete

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