Tamilians In Singapore Celebrate Thaipusam Festival After 2 Years Of Covid Curbs

Tamils ​​in Singapore celebrate Thaipusam festival after 2 years of lockdown because of Covid

Thaipusam is a huge event in Singapore and Malaysia, which boasts a thriving Tamil population.


The Tamil community in Singapore celebrated the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam with pomp and fanfare on Sunday, after a two-year hiatus following pandemic restrictions.

This festival in memory of Lord Murugan, God of war and fertility, in which devotees engage in a range of activities from balancing brass milk jugs on their heads, piercing their bodies with hooks and skewers and carried wooden structures called ‘kavadis’ decorated with peacock feathers and spears.

More than 35,000 devotees joined Singapore’s Minister of Manpower Tan See Leng at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple.

“Life is now returning to normal and it’s really a victory for us as a country and as a people,” the minister said.

“So this is really a great sign of who we are as a culture – multicultural, multi-religious and full of respect for each other’s religions,” said The Straits Times. quoted Tan as saying.

Tan interacts with devotees and volunteers, and watches kavadi-bearers prepare for the procession at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple.

He also carried a bottle of milk around the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. Some 450 kavadi bearers made the 3.2 km barefoot journey between the two great temples of Lord Murugan in this wealthy city-state.

Both temples were built by early settlers who migrated to Singapore from Tamil Nadu.

With 80 hooks attached to his body and face, Thirunavukkarasu Sundaram Pillai, 51, moves around in his wheelchair.

He carries a 30kg alagu kavadi – a structure made of wood and metal – as a sign of his devotion to Lord Murugan.

“It is extremely happy to be able to participate in the foot parade after two years. We prayed for the well-being of our family,” said Pillai.

Also present in the procession was a Buddhist-Hindu couple.

Pissamorn Richmond is in a wheelchair and her husband Raymond Richmond has given milk to her in hopes of recovery.

Pissamorn, 73, suffered a stroke in 2020 that left her paralyzed on the left side of her body.

Live music is played at Hastings Road, Short Street, Cathay Green along the parade route and at both temples, with devotees dancing to Indian trumpets and percussion instruments such as urumi melam, dhol and ghanjira.

S. Suriya, a 23-year-old urumi melam musician from Maaya Sudar Oli Urumi Melam, a religious music group, said: “Hindu festivals are meant to appeal to all the senses. So live music is key. It evokes a hypnotic-like state and allows devotees to forget all pain.” The festival sees more than 13,000 devotees bring offerings in milk jugs known as “Paal Kudam”.

The festivities begin at 11:30 p.m. Saturday and continue until late Sunday.

The procession was also streamed live by the Hindu Sponsors Board (HEB).

HEB CEO T. Raja Segar thanked the devotees for their cooperation with a total of 1,300 temple staff and volunteers who were present to assist them at the temple.

This festival was introduced during the colonial period by Tamil emigrants working on rubber estates.

Thaipusam is a big event in Singapore and Malaysia, which boasts a thriving Tamil population.

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