Monday, February 09, 2009
If you are wondering what festival the devotee in the photo above is celebrating, the answer is that he is celebrating the Hindu festival known as Thaipusam. According to Singapore Infopedia, "Thaipusam is actually derived from the word 'Thai' which means '10th', and 'pusam' meaning'when the moon is at its brightest'". This festival is dedicated to Lord Subramaniam, also known as Lord Murugan.
As best as I can make out from various sources and from speaking with a few of the devotees, Thaipusam is a day for thanksgiving, a day for the Hindus to show sincerity of their faith, a time to demonstrate repentence, and a time for making and fulfilling vows.
This year, Thaipusam was celebrated on 8 Feb 2009.
I managed to catch a part of the Chariot procession that took place on 7 Feb 2009, from 6 - 9 p.m., and a part of the Thaipusam procession that took place on 8 Feb 2009.
This year marks the very first year in my life when I was physically present to observe a Thaipusam celebration. While I take my time to work on writing out my experiences of observing the Thaipusam festival, please do visit Eastcoastlife's blog for her latest blog-entry on this subject of Thaipusam. The post is titled Thaipusam Festival 2009 - WS. Happy reading.
Thaipusam Singapore in Little India - A Festival for the Brave (e-tour Singapore)
Thaipusam - Singapore Infopedia, by Tan, Bonny.
Hindu Endowment Board - Thaipusam 2009