|31st January 2007, 12:40 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Happy Thaipusam all. It's on the 1st of February this year.
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (Jan/Feb). Pusam refers to a star that is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates both the birthday of Lord Murugan (also Subramaniam), the youngest son of Shiva and Parvati, and the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (lance) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman.
Devotees prepare for the celebration by cleansing themselves through prayer and fasting. On the day of the festival, devotees will shave their heads undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens). At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is also common. The most spectacular practice is the vel kavadi, essentially a portable altar up to two meters tall, decorated with peacock feathers and attached to the devotee through 108 vels pierced into the skin on the chest and back. Fire walking and flagellation may also be practiced. It is claimed that devotees are able to enter a trance, feel no pain, do not bleed from their wounds and have no scars left behind. However, some of the more extreme masochistic practices have been criticized as dangerous and contrary to the spirit and intention of Hinduism.
Ethnic Chinese partaking in the celebration.The largest Thaipusam celebrations take place in Singapore and Malaysia. The temple at the Batu Caves, near Kuala Lumpur, often attracts over one million devotees and tens of thousands of tourists. The procession to the caves starts at the Maha Mariamman Temple in the heart of the city and proceeds for 15 kilometers to the caves, an 8-hour journey culminating in a flight of 272 steps to the top. In Malaysia scenes of people from different ethnic groups and faiths bearing "kavadi" can also be seen. Thaipusam is also increasingly being celebrated by the ethnic Chinese in Malaysia and people from all over the world.
In Palani, Tamil Nadu, India, Thai Pusam is celebrated with grandeur. Thousands of devotees flock to Palani and attend kavadi. The number of kavadis reaching Palani for Thai Pusam is about 10,000. For Pankuni Uttiram, 50,000 kavadis arrive.
Last edited by Nesacat; 31st January 2007 at 01:00 PM.
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