Thaipusam is a symbolic Hindu festival in honour of Lord Murugan and his victory over evil.
In Singapore, an annual procession takes place along Serangoon Road, with great spiritual significance for Hindus. Devotees seek blessings, fulfil vows and offer thanks in an elaborate celebration that is both solemn and vibrant. Some devotees carry milk pots, while others who go through an intense amount of spiritual and physical preparation, carry spiked kavadis pierced into their flesh. They take the 4.5km walk, between Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road, surrounded by family and friends who support them with prayers and drum-accompanied melodic chants.
Thaipusam is of particular significance to the local Tamil community, but other races also participate in this sacred ritual celebrated every year. Typically, members of the public can also join in the procession to witness the great sacrifice and resilience of devotees. Thaipusam is one of our most special, intense and fascinating festivals celebrated in Singapore. Malaysia has a similar celebration at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur.
The procession begins just after 12am on Tuesday morning (3 February) and lasts through to the end of the night, when all the devotees have completed their journey.