5 things to know about Thaipusam in Singapore

(Photo Credits: Straits Times)

Around the same time every year, the streets of Serangoon Road to Tank Road will be partially closed for a colourful procession.

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival honouring Lord Subramaniam (otherwise known as Lord Murugan), who is the destroyer of evil.

Here are 5 interesting things to learn about the festival.

1. 2 days celebration

On the eve of the actual day, the chariot procession with the statue of Lord Murugan begins from Sri Thendayuthapani Temple at Tank Road to Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple at Keong Siak Road.

Proceedings start in the wee hours of the morning with devotees carrying milk pots and wooden kavadis.

In the latter part of the day, elaborate spiked kavadis are carried by male devotees which require piercing of the devotees body and face.

2. Ritual preparation begins way ahead

An entire month is spent in spiritual preparation for devotees. This is done in the form of a strict vegetarian diet.

Hindu devotees believe that the mind is free of material worth and the body is free from physical pleasures through the preparation in order to undertake the sacred task without the sensation of pain.

3. Racial Harmony in action

If you thought Thaipusam was observed by only the Hindus, then you’re wrong (well, sort of…)

In recent years, there have been Chinese devotees who carry kavadis too.

And many volunteers prepare food to be distributed round the clock to devotees over the two full days. Volunteers from other religious groups take part in the food distribution as well. According to a Hindu Endowments Board spokesperson, the Singapore Buddhist Lodge and other Taoist groups come in to prepare food such as Sandwiches and Mee Siam for temple visitors.

4. A journey on foot

(Photo credits: Straits Times)

Devotees carrying the milk pots and kavadis walk a total distance of 4.5 kilometres from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple at Tank Road.

If you’re interested, you can witness the procession anywhere along the route where the roads are closed.

5. Music throughout the journey

Music will be broadcasted from 23 location along the procession route, while live music is played by certified tradition indian musicians at 3 locations.

(Photo credits: Todayonline)

According to the HEB spokesman, “the music will be useful in reducing the pain and enhancing their spiritual focus throughout the journey” for the kavadi bearers.

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