Celebrating Thaipusam in Kuching

By Patricia Hului
@pattbpseeds
 

KUCHING: The rain did not dampen the Thaipusam celebration in Kuching as hundreds of Hindu devotees gathered at Satok Bridge before starting the procession along Jalan Satok to Jalan Kulas, Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, Jalan Budaya, Park Lane, Jalan Tabuan and ending at the Sri Srinivasagar Kailamman Temple.

 

THROUGH RAIN: Some of the devotees endure the rain during Thaipusam.

THROUGH RAIN: Some of the devotees enduring the rain during Thaipusam January 17.

 

After two years of not celebrating Thaipusam here due to extensive renovation work at the temple, the celebration has even drawn bystanders to slow down and take photos.

 

Thaipusam is celebrated in January or February annually, in the Tamil month of Thai when the moon is full. The word ‘Thaipusam’ derived from ‘Thai’ means ’10th’ and ‘pusam’ means ‘when the moon is at its brightest’.

 

It marks the day Lord Shiva’s son, Lord Murugan was given a lance by his mother, the Goddess Parvati, to defeat demons.

 

The day is celebrated as an annual procession by Hindu devotees asking for blessings, fulfilling vows and giving thanks to Lord Murugan.

 

The fact it’s not a public holiday in Sarawak did not deter the Hindu community from celebrating Thaipusam as people from all walks of life came together to celebrate on January 17.

 

Devotees carried a ‘kavadi’ which consists of two semi-circular pieces of wood bent and attached to a cross structure that can be balanced on the shoulders of the devotees.

 

KAVADI: Usually, the Kavadi are decorated with flowers, pictures of the deities and peacock feathers.

KAVADI: Usually, the Kavadi are decorated with flowers, pictures of the deities and peacock feathers.

 

Some devotees also carry Pal Kavadi or a brass jug of milk as an offering to their deity.

 

Devotees carrying the kavadi were wearing yellow or orange as these are Lord Murugan’s favourite colours.

 

PAL KAVADI: A devotee wearing yellow pours milk into a brass jug before the procession.

PAL KAVADI: A devotee wearing yellow pours milk into a brass jug before the procession.

 

FERVENT: Piercing of the skin as an example act of devotion to Lord Murugan.

FERVENT: Piercing of the skin as an example act of devotion to Lord Murugan.

DEVOTION TO LORD MURUGAN: A devotee pulls a chariot fastened to metal hooks in the skin of his back.

DEVOTION TO LORD MURUGAN: A devotee pulls a chariot fastened to metal hooks in the skin of his back.

 

Thaipusam and Deepavali are not public holidays in Sarawak, which makes the Indian communities in the state yearn for recognition.

 

According to last census in 2010 by Department of Statistics Malaysia, there are 4,049 Hindus here in Sarawak.

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