Not only Chinese ethic, but another religion also has an annual ceremony. The ceremony consists of things to celebrate the religious and cultural festival. If Chinese people are well-known for their Lunar New Year celebration, for Hindus that live in India, a similar event is Thaipusam Festival. Are you interested in exploring more about this event? You’re in the right place because we will explain all things related to this sacred event. Here you go!
Facts about Thaipusam Festival
Talking about religious events that occur in many regions, we will face many exciting facts regardings what every race comes up with every year. 2022 just happened. Besides the Chinese New Year that is about to occur soon, we will face another cultural event, the Thaipusam Festival.
The festival happens with a specific purpose behind it. Thaipusam is a way to honor Lord Subramaniam, also familiar as Lord Murugan, the ones who had successfully destroyed evil. He represents virtue, youth, and power. Every year, ten thousand participants will gather around in one place, a temple, making the ceremony extraordinary.
The name of Thaipusam is not happening without reasons behind it. If we separate it, Thai is the name of a star in Hindu belief. Meanwhile, Pusam is the star that takes place at the highest point during the festival. So, if you’re wondering about the meaning of the event’s name, it’s tightly related to Hindu Tamil’s belief.
Read Also : Mid Autumn Festival
When will Thaipusam Festival occur?
As same as the Chinese New Year that uses the Lunar calendar to determine when will the event fall, the Thaipusam ceremony relies on Tamil month. Thai, according to their belief that occurs in January to February is the perfect time to conduct the festival.
Every year, the ceremony will take time around January to February as these two months are the earliest months of the year, the right moment to pray to the God with the hope of good luck, prosperity, and many other good things for the next ten months.
Does Thaipusam Festival occur outside India?
As we mentioned above, Thaipusam Festival is an event that is being conducted and celebrated by Hindu Tamil in India. The religious population in India is quite many. Its participant can reach ten thousand attendances. This amount of people making the ceremony is as massive as Deepavali, another religious and cultural festival in India.
Same like a Deepavali that goes worldwide, a Thaipusam Festival is also being celebrated globally. Not only limited to the hometown where the event occurred, India, this sacred event to worship Lord Murugan, the six-faced god of war and victory is also happening outside India.
Some countries considered Thaipusam as a special event. For example, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, and South Africa where the population of Hindu Tamil in these regions is many.
The ceremony is even becoming a public holiday in several states in Malaysia. Every year, any temple in Malaysia fulfills by over one million devotees and thousands of tourists. It proves that many people are interested in this sacred festival that goes globally.
Another country outside India that celebrates the festival triumphantly is Singapore. In Singapore, Hindu devotees will start the sacred procession in the early morning at the Sri Srinaya Perumal, one of the most famous temples in Singapore.
Thaipusam Festival – a day to cleanse sin
After unveiling facts about this Hindu Tamil annual celebration along with other countries that celebrate it, it’s time to know more about how the ritual goes since the ceremony is very sacred. Hindu Tamil believes Thaipusam Festival is the perfect time to cleanse their sins so the procession will be devoted.
If you’re asking about the period of this event, the festival usually lasts for two days. It starts in the early morning, as we mentioned above. The devotees parted into two batches.
The first batch will carry milk pots and wooden kavadi, a device for religious purposes in Hinduism. During the procession, the first devotees will pierce their tongues with skewers while bring kavadi made of wooden and decorated with flowers. Some peacock feathers may hang on their shoulder.
Meanwhile, the other batch will carry spiked kavadi, a different device required to elaborate the ritual preparation.
After carrying some kavadis needed for the ritual, The Kavadi Attam will be performed. Kavadi Attam is a traditional dance that takes part as a ceremonial act, food offerings, and self-mortification. The reason why devotees of the event perform Kavadi Attam is to honor Lord Murugan.
Thaipusam Festival Preparation
With a lot of sacred things that are being conducted during the ceremony, do you ever imagine how difficult it is to prepare Thaipusam Festival? This event needs lot of effort to make it successful.
Because the event is indeed sacred and contains many religious elements of it, its participants have to prepare the ceremony carefully. The hope to cleanse sins through the Thaipusam Festival makes the devotees execute a strict vegetarian diet.
The diet is not only executed for a few days but the entire month. This kind of heavy preparation is being conducted to free up the body from any physical pleasures, so when the ritual finally occurs in January to February, devotees won’t feel pain while doing the sacred task because they have already gotten used to it.
This heavy diet is combined with fasting with an only specific food is allowed to be eaten by the devotees. On the d-day of the Thaipusam Festival, the participants shave their heads before carrying the kavadi that the types are various. While doing this step, they have to always keep God in their mind to prevent any distractions.
The sacred task itself consists of some difficult acts. Besides carrying kavadi, devotes have to climb into 272 steps of grand stair to enter the temple where the ritual will be processed. For ordinary people, this thing might be extremely exhausted, but different from the devotees that see this as a way to honor Lord Murugan.