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Wednesday, February 8, 2012


This year I got the chance to actually go and watch a religious observance by the Hindus. It's called Thaipusam. It only comes once a year and it is when the Hindus celebrate the victory of the Hindu deity Subramanya over the forces of darkness.

Men and sometimes women will pierce their skin with spikes in order to wear a kavadi. There is NO blood and the participants are willing and proud to carry the kavadi's.  I only saw the women with the piercings in their tongue or cheeks so I'm not sure if they can carry the kavadi's. The participants also carry along gifts to their deity like milk and food. It is just another religion praying to their gods the way they believe. Here in Singapore they will walk from one Temple (Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple) to another one (Sri Thandayuthapani Temple)  about 4.5 kilometers, or 2.5 miles.

From the moment I got off the MRT stop you could feel the elecctricity in the air. You just KNEW something was going on. Traffic is still going but there are huge metal gates blocking off one side of the road for the procession to walk. Sometimes the men and women would have to wait just like any other pedestrians. While they waited was the best time to see them dance and sing. I did walk part of the procession because I wanted to see what it felt like. It was VERY hot, but there were lots of places along the way offering food, water and juices. And not just for participants, I was asked if I wanted anything too.

I met a friend there and we watched the procession before going to the Temple to watch some more. Just walking into the Temple your senses were bombarded by music and prayer and talking and the incense. It was practically magical. The energy here was just amazing. You could feel it was a celebration. IT WAS CROWDED. And it was totally worth it! There were families all clustered together to witness and help with whoever was wearing the kavadi. There were children and older ladies and the fellowship was everywhere. Many of the people participating were just happy and proud. It wasn't barbarian like at all! This is the way they choose to celebrate their God and who am I to judge? They were happy and they believe in something!

I am so glad I took the time out of my day to witness this. I will never regret that I was witness to this religious ceremony.

If you want to know more you can read a friends post here and another post here. Wikipedia also has some great information but first hand experiences are my favorite way to get information.