Also Called: Thai Poosam Kavady
Duration: 1 day
Celebrated by: Hindus
Attractions: Different Kavadis, Procession etc
Celebrated largely by the Tamil population, Thaipusam is an important
Hindu festival. Like other festivals, Thaipusam too, is celebrated with
zeal and fervor in Malaysia. Observed on the full moon of Tamil month -
Thai (Jan/Feb), it is marked as a day for penance and atonement among
the Hindus. This festival doesn't only commemorate the birthday of Lord
Murugan - the youngest son of Lord Shiva and Godess Parvati, but also
the occurrence when Parvati presented to Murugan a vel (lance) to
annihilate the wicked demon - Soorapadman.
For Hindus, it's a time to fulfill the vow, they have made to Lord
Murugan. Devotees who take pledge to bear body-piercing 'Kavadi' get
ready for the fête by cleansing themselves through prayer and
fasting. At the time of assuming 'Kavadi' and when it is offered to Lord
Murugan, elaborate ceremonies take place. During the period,
Kavadi-bearer observes abstinence and eats food only once a day whilst
thinking of the supreme.
As a matter of fact, hooks and pins pierce the flesh but hardly any
blood is observable and devotees appear in trance without having any
pain. Devotees believe that greater would be pain, more would be the
merit. It is believed that Lord Murugan prevents the pain and bleeding.
On the pious day, devotees, who don't take 'kavadis' carry a pot of milk
as their offering to the God. Accordingly, people spear through their
tongue or cheeks, and sometimes, get hooks stuck into the back while
remembering Lord Murugan throughout the journey.
Ethnic Chinese can also be seen participating in the event. Batu Caves,
in Selangor, makes the major site for the festival in Malaysia. People
from far and near come to celebrate the occasion of penance. In Kuala
Lumpur, a procession amid a decorated chariot comprising the idol of
Lord Murugan starts from Sri Mahamariamman Temple and proceeds to the
caves. One must see the earnest celebrations of Thaipusam in Malaysia
which is a life-time experience.