Jan 24, 2008

Video - Malaysia Thaipusam Festival 2008

Video - Malaysia Thaipusam Festival 2008

When the constellation of Pusam rises over the eastern horizon, and the full moon shines the earth in the month of Thai (the 10th month of the Tamil calendar), Tamil devotees take to the streets in a celebration to worship and commemorate the birth of Lord Murugan, and the day he was bestowed the mighty shakthi vel (lance) for his quest to vanquish evil in the world.

As the story has it, Lord Murugan (also known as Lord Subramaniam) and son to Lord Shiva and the goddess Parvati, was given the task to assist the Devas to battle and rid of the evil manifestation known as Asuras that has for centuries brought the world in a turmoil of pain and sufferings.

The Devas, who have sought the divine assistance of Lord Shiva, has for the longest time fought the Asuras but to no avail and were told by the gods that only the son of Lord Shiva can lead them to victory in their battle. True to the prediction, good triumph over evil and peace was brought to the land.

Though originally celebrated by Tamil Indians from Tamil Nadu, Thaipusam has through time been celebrated in other parts of the world including Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Here, Thaipusam was brought to our shores and preserved by the Indian community who migrated from India during the 19th century. Todate, the celebration has not only grew in size, having witness over a million devotees flooding the compound area of Batu Caves where the celebration is carried out annually in Selangor, but also in popularity as dozens of visitors from all around come to watch the colourful and spiritual proceedings.

Devotees of all ages and backgrounds come to pay their respect and perform ritual acts as atonement. Those who would like for their wishes to be granted by Lord Murugan would purify themselves by fasting and praying days before the celebration. Some would go on a spiritual journey carrying the kavadis, a hill shaped metal frame attached to the body, barefoot from their home to the temple while some other devotees would have their bodies and cheeks pierced with hooks and other metal objects.

Aside from Batu Caves, Thaipusam, which falls on January 23 this year, can also be observed at Jalan Waterfall in Penang and Ipoh, Perak.

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