Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thaipusam with Yeti's Parents

Wow, it had been some time since we last dropped a post. For all our readers who have been "tuning in" to our blog regularly, thank you for waiting. We had many things to do after the Yeti's parents left that this is by far the only weekend we have had to really relax - After we took a trip to the hotel to collect our invitation prints for the wedding!

The yeti and parents were really lucky I must say - it is their 2nd time after a looong time in Singapore, and they chose the right period to come! Singapore was still celebrating Chinese New Year, so they got to see how Chinatown was like during this season. Not only that, they got to witness a Hindu festival celebrated in Singapore called "Thaipusam". It's Julien's 1st Thaipusam event too.

Thaipusam actually celebrates the birthday of the Hindu deity Subramaniam. On this occasion, Hindus show the sincerity of their faith. It is a time for making and fulfilling vows. Devotees pray for divine help and make vows. When their prayers are answered, they fulfil their vows.

To do this, a devotee would pierce his cheeks, tongue, face or other suitable body parts with sharp objects. Next his friends or relatives load a *kavadi on his shoulder. Finally, in a trance-like manner, he goes on a 4km journey of faith.

* A kavadi is a cage-like structure carried by devotees during the Thaipusam Festival. It is traditionally decorated with peacock feathers and aluminium plates which show images of Hindu deities. Sharp spikes criss-cross its lower section.

An elaborate kavadi might weigh up to 15kg! It is quite something just to lift it. But their relatives we saw actually walked with them for 4km - kavadis, skewers, hooks, spikes and all!

Some of them even skipped and danced with their kavadis. Either they have great endurance or they have some supernatural help.

Someone once told me his dad had volunteered for this before, apparently, most of them who take part in this "parade" are the males in the family. I was told that it is believed that they do this mainly for the gods to bless their family and their children with a good and smooth sailing life.

Here are some pics we took.

He not only had his tongue pierced. But his legs too.

My skin crawled when this guy walked past. Most of the other participants had a gurdle like cloth around their waist most of the time. this guy didn't and you can actually see the piercings through his waist!

This guy was huge in real life. He had piercings on his lower back.

This part of the parade was interesting. You could tell he was really trying his best to balance all that weight on himself. Not only that, he stopped in the middle of his walk and danced! He twirled round a few times like a professional ballerina before continuing the rest of his gruelling 4km walk.

This sight was heart warming. Must be inconvenient.

It was truly a sight to behold, thaipusam. I would encourage you to come and experience this for yourself too, if you can stomach what you see. It's not really gory or anything like that. There's no blood. It's almost like a normal peircing for us when we pierce our ears for beauty.

The whole procession was going to take a lot longer, and because of the heat, neither of us could bear to stay a minute longer. So we all went off for dinner at clarke quay. Guess what we had for dinner?

Indian Food. It was simply marvelicious!

1 comment:

micheltdt said...

Superb pics, although it sends cold shivers down my spine... On an other topic: I am now eager to see photos of your Honda motorbike!