Friday, August 26, 2011

Symbolic Hindu Festival, Thaipusam - PH

PhotoHunt theme : Symbolic

Every year I look forward to Thaipusam, a highly symbolic Hindu festival celebrated by Singapore’s Tamil community.

Hindu devotees seeking blessings, fulfilling vows and offering thanks start their annual procession in the early hours of the morning with a 4.5 km walk from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple along Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road.

The first batches of devotees usually carry milk pots and wooden Kavadis. A Kavadi consists of two semicircular pieces of wood or steel which are attached to a cross structure that can be balanced on the shoulders of a devotee. It is often decorated with flowers, palm leaves and peacock feathers. Some of these Kavadis weigh up to 30 kg!

Since it is seen by many as a day of thanksgiving or a time to make atonement for sins, many devotees spear their faces and pierce their backs and chests with hooks. Some devotees also pierce their tongues with skewers.

It is an interesting and amazing festival. I am afraid of needles so experiencing for the first time these fantastic moments before my eyes, I was filled with awe and respect for the devotees.


  1. Looking at the photos already Scared, so I've yet been to a Thaipusam festival. Even though I used to stay near Batu Caves. ;)

    Though I marvel at the strong will of those kavadi carriers. They prepare for months before.

  2. Lina,
    I have more scary photos but decide not to put them up as I want my readers to see it as a beautiful and meaningful festival.

    You should see one, it is a fantastic experience. I don't have the courage to get pierced but maybe I will carry a milk pot one day. :)

  3. I really respect Singapore for being open to a lot of festivities being practiced by different communities.

    With your posts, I'm more determined to visit and experience Singapore in the near future.

  4. I have seen a few Thaipusam parade near Little India before. I am always amazed at the heavy weights attached to those needles piercing deep into their skins! It reminds me of the Chinese "Tung-Kee" and sometimes could not bear to see them.

  5. Oh Thaipuism already thought it was just like yesterday? How time flies..Vel vel vel vel vel.

  6. Beautiful festival!! and I enjoyed your pictures. Enjoy your weekend, ECL!!

  7. excellent choice for the theme. happy weekend, happy hunting.

  8. I used to really enjoy Thaipusam in my younger days. Unfortunately, the last two years that I was in Penang for Thaipusam, I found the crowds on the overly big and sometimes overly rowdy side... A pity since the traditional aspects of the festival can be so amazing.

  9. In your first picture it sort of looks like our Santa Clause. Great take on theme.

    Coffee is on.

  10. wow, so many things here and this is not a festival i was aware of - i also have trouble with needles (though i worked with them for ears), but this is amazing! The idea of giving thanks thoug, is something i can relate to