Singapore is known for its cultural diversity, and this February, join our Hindu friends as we celebrate their traditional festival, Thaipusam.
What is Thaipusam?
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival observed by the Tamil community. It is held during the 10th month of the Hindu calendar (the month of Thai) when the moon is at its fullest. This festival will see devotees celebrating their devotion to the Hindu deity, Lord Murugan. On this day, devotees will commemorate the Lord Murugan’s triumph over evil by carrying milk pots along and Kavadis on their route from Serangoon Road to Tank Road as their friends and relatives chant hymns and prayers to support them along their walk.
One of the most unique features of the Thaipusam procession, Kavadis are structures made of steel and wood that pierce through the devotees’ torsos as a mark of faith and devotion. These structures, which can weigh up to 40 kilograms (88.2 lbs) and reach a height of four metres (13.1 feet), are usually decorated with colourful items like flowers, peacock feathers. Men also walk along the route with sharp objects and fruits on metal hooks hooked onto the skin on their bodies.
Known as the “Walk of Faith”, the walk requires men carrying Kavadis to cleanse themselves spiritually by mediating, praying and observing abstinence and strict vegetarian diets a month before the procession.
The Colourful Route
1. The procession will start with devotees gathering at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India (North-East Line).
2. At the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, devotees will perform a ritual and making offerings 3. They will continue the 4.5 km walk along Serangoon Road
4. The procession will end at the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road.
This year’s festival will start at 12.05am on 3rd February, but if you’d like to watch, we suggest that you reach early, as preparations typically start on the eve of the procession. Thaipusam attracts lots of crowds, and you can expect road closures and skipped bus stops along the route. Click here for affected routes and bus services.