It is a day of fasting, thanksgiving and consecration. The main participants carry beautifully decorated kavadis, with milk pots literally hooked to their bare bodies. It is a display of belief that transcends pain. The devotees go on a 4-kilometre trek with their loved ones and friends who would be chanting prayers and singing joyously beside them.
These foreign workers are here to give offerings. They were decorating their newly bought milk pots and having their own prayer session. Several have participated consecutively for 5 years.
Surprisingly, all of them participate in Thaipusam only when they come to Singapore. Where they come from, the Thaipusam celebration is held in temples too far away from their home-towns.
The temple grounds was getting very crowded from 11pm, but devotees kept coming.
There was FREE food and drinks for visitors. These volunteers were busy preparing sandwiches and drinks. They worked non-stop.
This is Subanes (in his 20s). It is his 5th year carrying the kavadi. This tradition runs in his family. His father carried the kavadi for more than 20 years and then passed it to his elder brother. Now it is Subanes' turn. His family and friends will accompany him on his walk. Subanes feels happy and thankful when carrying the kavadi.
Mr Adappan (51) and his friends were decorating his kavadi when I approached him. He has several Chinese friends helping him. Mr Wee Guan Soon (60) is Mr Adappan's colleague for more than 20 years. They are both working in the transport industry. Mr Wee has been helping and supporting Mr Adappan yearly since he started carrying the kavadi.
Mr Adappan has been fasting for the past 11 days. Devotees can choose to fast for 3, 11 or 21 days. Work on decorating his kavadi started a week ago. His friends helped to make the trimmings and decorative pieces.
This is Mr Adappan's 6th and last year of carrying the kavadi. He said he's getting old and if one carries a kavadi once, he has to carry it consecutively for 3 years. He was scheduled to start his walk at 2 am.
The procession will start from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road at 12.01am and end at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Tank Road. The two temples, together with the Hindu Endowments Board, organise the festival each year.
The route takes devotees through Serangoon Road, Selegie Road, Orchard Road, Penang Road, Clemenceau Avenue and Tank Road. Celebrations are expected to end at 12.01am on Monday.
A Thaipusam Heritage Corner has been set up for those who want to understand the festival. Cultural concerts by well known artists from South India, Malaysia and Singapore will be held on 7th and 8th February 2009 evening.
Thaipusam Heritage Corner
field opposite Serangoon Plaza