Being a melting pot of cultures – Singapore offers variety of traditions to be observed and revered. I was lucky enough to have spent more than six years in this city-state and witness some of these traditions firsthand.
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). Singapore, with its significant Tamil population, celebrates the festival by organizing a procession. The Hindu devotees start the procession at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Serangoon Road in the early morning, carrying milk pots as offerings or attaching “kavadis” and spikes pierced on their body. The procession travels for 4 kms before finishing at Tank Road, Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. A traditional custom, embodiment of a 5000 years old civilization; in the midst of a modern time concrete jungle, makes one wonder how far we have come. The sight draws awe and cringe at the same time.
I have managed to catch Thaipusam early morning for a couple of years (its a shame I could only do 2 years!). The below shots will give you an idea of the procession on Serangoon Road. It can only be faith in the Almighty that drives these devotees to pierce their bodies and walk without any grimace of pain.
The origin of the festival is attributed to ‘Devas’ pleading to Lord Shiva to protect them from ‘Asuras’. Shiva, granting their wish, creates mighty warrior, ‘Skanda’, out of his own power or ‘Achintya Shakti’. He immediately assumed leadership of the celestial forces, inspired them and defeated the Asura forces. To recognise that day, people celebrate the festival, Thaipusam.
I wish I can go back some time again to capture this amazing celebration of victory of good over bad