The Thaipusam festival is celebrated all over the world where Hindus, and especially people from Tamil Nadu live. This is one historical festival that has been celebrated with the prayer that anything evil should be kept away from man. Today it is widely celebrated in Mauritius, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Caribbean, Singapore and evern North America. It includes many rituals and ends with a procession walked barefoot and carrying bright coloured Kavadis on their heads. Understand why people believe in such a ritual as it has begum its roots from the legendary tales of Hinduism.
Thaipusam: The Festival That Wards off Evil From Your Life
Ever been to South India? Or in specific Tamil Nadu? Then try to pay a visit to the humble state of age old cultures on the Thaipusam day. It is a festival celebrated during the holy month of Thai.
Thaipusam is such a colourful festival where people are ready to endure pain, cry out their sorrows and make the Lord happy by self burdening their body. The more the pain they endure, the more effective the prayers will be.
Devotee of Thaipusam
A man who is getting prepared for the Thaipusam festival in Chennai. The festival is celebrated on an auspicious day when Goddess Parvati gave her son Lord Murugan – a ‘Vel’ to defeat a demon named Soorpadam.
Ritual in Process
Here is a young man who is ready for grand function. They smear turmeric, sandalwood powder paste and even rice powder. This is to prevent the occurrence of any infection of whatever sort maybe.
Thaipusam in TN
As per mythology, people attend this festival religiously as it proves their ultimate devotion to their Lord Murugan. They pray so that the Lord Murugan showers His blessings and protects his devotees from bad spirits and bad luck.
Praying for peace
Here, people are celebrating Thaipusam in Chennai. From flocking, to piercing to various types of skin burdening practices are followed on this special day.
One common way of piercing the body is being displayed here. The devotee will pierce their body and hang pots filled with special offerings like small pots, lemons and much more. The entire procedure may look very gory, but this shows how strong their belief seems to be.
Different Kinds of piercings
Here also is a man who is participating in the Thaipusam festival in Chennai. Apart from the conventional insertion of lemons, people nowadays go for other creative options like fruits and fragrant offerings for the Lord and his mother.
The Holy Skewer Insertion
The devotee stands ready to be a part of the Thaipusam Kavadi. He has pierced his cheeks with a skewer and fit in large lemons at both the ends. The astonishing fact is that the person who undergoes this pain will not bleed and cannot feel much of the pain.
Lady in Participation
Thaipusam is celebrated and the rituals are practised by both men and women of all ages. Only small children are not allowed to pierce themselves or bring sort of self harm.
Boy's Mouth being pierced
The piercing ritual is going on here. The devotee is blessed and then the sharp rod is pierced from one cheek and passed on to the next cheek. The need to wear rods, and other needles and perform the entire kaavadi dance and prayer.
Spikes on the back
Here large spikes are inserted at the back of the devotee and a lot of prayers are also chanted. During the whole procedure they get into a trans state and therefore do nor feel any pain. These intense prayers helps to release people from bad omens and whatever sufferings or mishaps that seem to trouble them in life.
Apart from piercing their cheeks and backs, people do piercings on the ear lobes also. The whole function is done on the full moon day as they believe that all the evils will be driven away with such wounds.
Accessories used for Thaipusam
Take a look at the spikes and other medicines, ropes, that are being used by people when they go for a Kavadi parade. Their backs are pierced and they will walk with the piercings and chant alongside all the concerned prayers.
Pull the Idol
These are the holy devotees of Lord Muruga who are all ready to pull the image of the diety. This could be a small statue placed on wooden chariots and pulled slowly.
All ready for to receive blessings
This crowd will give you an idea of the number of devotees who flood to the temple. Mostly people visit the Palani Temple for the special Thaipusam festival.
Self Harm Rittuals
This picture will show another type of burden they undertake during the Vel Kavadi. The devotee will walk on hot coals so that all their wrong deeds and any shortcomings that are suffering in their lives.
A part of the Procession
The main attraction of the Thaipusam Festival is the parade that the devotee undertakes. This is indeed a feat to have your mouth and body pierce and walk through and the midst of such wild crowds.
The Queue Waits
Women devotees queue near the priest so that prayers can be chanted before the pierce is done. For this, they cleanse their mind and body before the Thaipusam day arrives.
Women pierced her tongue
Look at the devotee who waits patiently until the skewer pierces through the tongue and wait for the procession or the parade to start.
Turmeric smeared on devotee
Another lady devotee who waits to participate in the Thaipusam parade in Chennai. This is an eventful function where Hindus believe will soothe their mental pressures, and other problems that hinder their path to success.
Singapore and Malaysia stands to be a very popular place where a lot of people celebrate Thaipusam.
Scented Water Ritual
This is one Hindu devotee who is washed with sacred water and it is taking place in Singapore. Sins are washed with scented water and people continue the procession to carry the diety or place milk bowls on their heads.
Following the procession
In Singapore, the Thaipusam procession is going on. The procession begins from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, and ends at Sri Thandayuthapani Temple. People walk in the procession for about 4.5 km with the spikes and ropes. This whole day is spent as a holy time of penance and also thanksgiving for Singaporean Hindus.
People carry Pots of Milk
Singaporean Hindu Followers also take part in the procession by carrying milk in small pots and walking in the crowds. The procession begins from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, and ends at Sri Thandayuthapani Temple.
Devotees await their blessings
Whether it is Singapore, or Malaysia or India, the feel and holiness of Thaipusam never seems to dwindle. The mass of people bow down in humbleness asking for the grace of Lord Murugan and to cast away the evil forces that surround their life.
This displays the way Kavadi Aattam is played. It is the final and big dance demonstrated by the Lord Murugan believers during the festival of Thaipusam. This Aatam you see here took place in Bangalore.
A dance called Kavadi Aatam is played wherein the smaller form of the diet is prepared and carried by the devotees. This Kavadi is very heavy and signifies one’s request to God to grant them better health and no entry of evil in their lives.