In my previous Travel Snapshots posts I mentioned what a melting post Singapore is, and today I have another post that highlights that fact. Singapore is home to a large number of Tamil Hindus, and on a recent outing we stumbled on the Thaipusam festival.
Honestly, when we first came across it, I had no idea what the celebration was about. There was a procession of men, women and children coming down the street and not wanting to miss the moment, I dove for my camera (which was of course at the bottom of my purse). It wasn’t until later that day that I was able to look up the festival to better understand the images I had snapped.
Thaipusam is a holiday that honors Murugan, the Hindu god of war and victory, who destroyed a demon with a Vel (spear). Followers celebrate the holiday by following a designated path through the city while performing various acts. Everyone is barefoot, many men shave their heads and both men and women carry milk jugs on their head. But what we found particularly fascinating were the acts of penance, which included piercing of the flesh with large spears while carrying a kavadi (a decorated canopy) throughout the route. I learned that in Singapore the route is about 4 km long!
Here are some of the men carrying their kavadis down the street:
I love getting a glimpse into other cultures. I am so happy that we are having these experiences in Singapore!