June 21st, 2010
While backpacking through Malaysia we were able to experience the Thaipusam festival 2010 which is celebrated by the Tamil community during the months of January or February on the full moon.
The Thaipusam festival is celebrated to honor the Hindu warrior Skanda, or Murugan, which was created by Hindu God Shiva to defeat the sinful.
To recognize this day the Tammil community celebrates the Thaipusam festival.
During the Thaipusam proclamation in Kuala Lumpur several kavadi's are performed by the devotees during the ceremonial worship of Murugan. The kavadi can be seen as an offer to the Hindu Gods and is a form of debt bondages asking for forgiveness or strength and healing.
There are several forms of kavadi and the simplest being carying a pot of milk above the head throughout the procession. The more pain is felt the bigger the offer and the blessing that will fall upon the devotee and his family.
The Thaipusam festival in Kuala Lumpur also attracts a lot of tourists and starts in the center of the city leading to the Batu Caves. In Maylasia the Thaipusam festival is not just celebrated in Kuala Lumpur but all over the country.
The procession we witnessed in Kuala Lumpur took about 8 hours and is a physically challenging tradition. The devotees acting out the hardest forms of Kavadi had pins sticking out of their body and were often towed by chains attached to their skins. Also most of them head spears, symbolic for Murugan the warrior, pinned through their tongs and cheeks to prevent them from speaking and helping them to concentrate on God only.
Some of them seemed to have gone in some sort of trance which left me a bit with mixed feelings. Of course the Thaipusam festival is something that is very important in the Tamil community and to the Hindu people that these offerings are something that they're willing to do. Besides the kavadi's which were pretty painful the festival also brings the community together to celebrate their freedom and blessings.
Did you enjoy Thaipusam festival 2010 and have you been on a holiday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?
Add your trip!