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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A TEST OF FAITH: The Thaipusam Festival | தைப்பூசம்







Today is an extraordinary day for our Hindu brothers in Malaysia and Singapore. The celebration of Thaipusam Kavady – the feast for the Lord Subramaniam (Murugan), the youngest son of Shiva and Parvati. This is the day when the star Pusam appears.

Hindus in Singapore show their devotion by walking 3 kilometers from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to Chettiar Temple, carrying offerings to Lord Subramaniam. Hindus in Malaysia gather in Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Gunong Cheroh in Ipoh and Jalan Waterfall in Penang. This is one of the biggest annual-tourist-c’mon of Malaysia.

A day of thanks giving, asking favors, and simply wishing good things. The air is festive and everybody is in a good mood.

You think that’s it? Well, listen to this…some devotees would raise the stakes to get the Lord Subramaniam’s favor. They would pierce pins, fish hooks, knives, swords and just about any skewers in sight into their cheeks, back, arms, legs and even testicles! *Ouch! Stop poking me, goddammit!*

But here’s the kicker. With all those piercing and poking, there is no bleeding at all! Not even scars afterwards! It is said that Lord Subramaniam stops the bleeding and heals the wounds as if nothing happened at all.

The Thaipusam Festival was brought to our region by Tamil/Hindu immigrants in the British Colonial era. It is celebrated on the full moon of the Hindu month of Thai, which falls around January and February. There is also a similar festival in Thailand called the "Vegetarian Festival" in Phuket. But that happens around November.

This is one festival in our region that takes nerves and lots of faith *and guts!* Let me show you what I'm talking about...

Here... but not for the faint-hearted...



A W E S O M E !

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9 Comments:

Mr Rainbow Man said...

Some of the pictures here are from the vegetarian festival in southern thailand...

very different festival, but very same rituals...

budlights said...

Happy Thaipusam Kavady Festival to our Hindu brothers from Singapore & Malaysia! btw, im a Filipino and i just learned of this superb blog a few days ago. and i must say that form then on, i spend at least 3 to 5 hours a day reading all the wonderful and interesting articles about asean. im very very happy that there is a blog of this kind. eversince i was a child, i have always been fascinated with the different asian cultures, specially that of the asean region. kudos to the authors of this very informative and fascinating blog! to pisanu, morgan and sofia - keep up the good work!

i am a proud Filipino and now i am an even prouder asean citizen...
:-)

Daniel N. said...

Mr Rainbow, yes it is! The author mentioned it on the article as a "similar festival". Cheers.

curbside_puppet said...

i saw this festival once as a kid. pretty amazing.

iggy said...

OUch is all I can say

Patric said...

This is really amazing. How devotees would take religion, their beliefs and tradition to the next level. Sometimes it makes me wonder why they go to the extreme. And I think culture also plays a major role on why they do this. But I think these traditions makes each of our culture unique.

Jake Tornado said...

Piercing TESTICLES?!!!

MischMensch said...

OMG it sure looks pain

Reyville of Simply Manila said...

Unbelievable.

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