Monday, 18 January 2010

Thaipusam : A festival misunderstood

The Penang branch of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam reminds Thaipusam devotees to practice caution during the coming festival as it is known that thieves on the prowl and looking for easy prey.

The chairman of the Penang Hindu Sangam, Dr Ravichandran Balasandorom spoke to CJ Jimmy Leow on the needs to be moderate during the Kavadi procession.

He added that there were Kavadis built with the logo of EPL clubs, namely Manchester United and Liverpool at the top of the Kavadis last year.

He also showed evidence of a beer brand logo making its way to the top of the Kavadi instead of Hindu deities. He urged devotees to stop using such "advertisement" and hold onto tradition for the sake of the future generation.

Thaipusam, is religious festival, flavoured with cultural extravaganzas, is a sacred occasion for the devotees to take time to fulfil their vows to Lord Muruga for wishes granted and also to pray for specific wishes with vows.

When preparing for Thaipusam, the devotees go through various stages of self-purification through prayers and self-abstinences in order to fulfil their vows on the holy day.

A more difficult vow will require a deeper self-purification through various abstinences such as being a vegetarian for weeks and abstaining from alcohol.

Most of the vows are personal in nature.

Some devotees may choose to offer prayers with a milk pot on the head.

Some others may carry the Kavadi or have a chariot hooked onto their bodies as they go into a trance and walk to the temple.

Others may just offer prayers and break coconuts as a symbol of laying off their egos to get divine blessings,

They are some who may choose to tonsure their head, which is also another common vow.

Some men, women and children sacrifice their crowning glory for various personal reasons such as good health, material wealth, doing well in studies or careers, and even for life partners.

Video by Jimmy Leow Beng Hock (Citizen Journalist)

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