Thaipusam Festival 2023, which will be held on February 5th, is an upcoming event in Singapore.
Anchored by a colorful annual procession, Thaipusam sees Hindu devotees in Singapore seeking blessings, fulfilling vows, and offering thanks.
The festival is celebrated in honor of Lord Subramaniam (also known as Lord Murugan), the destroyer of evil who represents virtue, youth, and power.
The festival generally lasts for 2 days. On the eve, a chariot procession bearing a statue of Lord Murugan begins from Sri Thendayuthapani Temple at Tank Road to Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple at Keong Saik Road.
The Thaipusam ceremony starts in the early hours of the morning. The first batch of devotees carries milk pots and wooden kavadis (ceremonial devices used for religious self-mortification in Hinduism). Some pierce their tongues with skewers and carry a wooden kavadi decorated with flowers and peacock feathers balanced on their shoulders. Other devotees carry spiked kavadis that require elaborate preparation.
Preparing for the ritual
Indeed, for devotees, Thaipusam is often the climax of an entire month spent in spiritual preparation with a strict vegetarian diet.
It is believed that only when the mind is free of material worth and the body free from physical pleasures can a devotee undertake the sacred task without feeling any pain.
A colorful procession
Of course, not all who join the Thaipusam procession commit to such extremes—many kavadis have no spikes, and women often simply carry a pot of milk, an offering that symbolizes abundance and fertility to the Hindus.
You can witness the spectacle anywhere between Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Serangoon Road and Sri Thendayuthapani Temple at Tank Road, as some lanes are closed to traffic for the occasion.
Devotees will walk the four kilometers, along with relatives and friends who chant hymns and prayers to support and encourage them.