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Singapore Hindu Festival: Thaipusam

Posted by SD Tri-girl on Jan 23, 2008 12:50:05 AM

I arrived in Singapore early Tuesday morning. My legs are tired from the run and I developed cankles during the flight. I look like elephant woman from the knees down.  I went to my hotel, Shangri-la, and checked in early, took a shower and headed out for my all day meeting.  By about 3pm I was ready for bed, but the only way to recover from jetlag is to acclimate to the new time zone right away.  So I went out with some friends to a neighborhood outdoor market area called "Chomp Chomp". 

 

We ate all kinds of great food - satay, noodles, shrimp dish and the highlight for me - stingray!  This was the first time I had eaten stingray and I have to say, it was pretty good. It was prepared with lots of chili paste on it so it was super spicy, but the fresh sugar cane juice washed it down nicely and it was delicious.

 

On the way back to the hotel, we saw the most amazing festival.  Men were walking down the street carrying these complex and gorgeous arrangements on their bodies and what was incredible about it is that everything was pierced to hold them in place.  It is called THAIPUSAM.  This famous Hindu festival has to be witnessed to be believed. In a gesture of penance and seeking forgiveness from the gods, male Hindu devotees make the three-kilometre walk from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to Sri Thandayuthapani Temple, laden with enormous kavadi, or portable shines. The kavadi is pierced to the devotees' body by spikes and skewers; it is normally borne on the body, and sometimes dragged by the devotee like a chariot. Supporters of the kavadi-bearer gather around him, chanting prayers, clapping and shouting their encouragement along the way.  This fascinating, logic-defying ceremony lasts the entire day, and observers are welcome.

 

Here is a picture of one contraption - notice the bells hanging off the flesh of his arms.  If you are questioning if it's pierced, assume it is!

If you want to read more about this annual festival, check out this link:

http://www-singapore.com/festivals/festival2.html

Comments (3)
SD Tri-girl

SD Tri-girl

Member since: Oct 23, 2007

I currently write this from the western part of Puerto Rico. When I get back, I have 2 weeks before I leave for Australia - I'll be taking the new Sony GPS unit with me to track where I go and the fun places I'll be hiking and diving. Can't wait!

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