Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the end of the procession at tank road

i was at the tank road chettiar hindu temple on sunday to catch the end of the thaipusam procession.

thaipusam is a 3-day festival. this year, it starts on 7 feb (preparation) and ends on 9 feb. as thaipusam is not a public holiday in singapore, i only found out about the day when my friend nara had to decline my invitation for our yearly chinese new year dinner because he was in some way involved in it.

the thaipusam procession starts at sri srinivasa perumal temple on serangoon road and ends at sri thandayuthapani temple on tank road, a distance of about 4km.

i was not the only one fascinated by the collection of shoes outside the temple. i saw quite a number of tourists taking pictures of the pile of shoes, sandals and slippers. many of the tourists and visitors also removed their shoes/sandals when they stepped into the temple grounds. some left their footwear outside the temple while others carried it in their hands.

this hindu religious festival reminds me of the chinese 'tang ki' who goes into a trance and sometimes pierces a skewer through the tongue or from one cheek through to the other cheek.

however, i am always struck by the intense faith and devotion of these kavadi carriers. unlike the tang ki, who are, in a sense, professional, these are ordinary people who have a choice and yet some of them choose to go through this year after year. i know someone who would fast religiously for the three weeks prior to thaipusam.

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