There are many races in Malaysia including Malays, Chinese, Indians and others. Together, Malaysians live in peace, harmony and love, and everybody is free to practise their own belief and customs. As a result, Malaysians enjoy many different celebrations and traditions which is a sign of respect and openness, practised by all. This is what Malaysia Truly Asia is all about.

In February, Malaysians will also have another opportunity of celebrating one special festive days known as Thaipusam – a festival celebrated by the Hindu community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February), usually coinciding with Pushya star, known as Poosam in Tamil.

This year in Malaysia, Thaipusam is celebrated on the 8 of February with much anticipation by the devotees. Normally, they will be road closures, as well as high traffic reported for the event. But visitors are not affected, as there will be extended time for train schedules, including the LRT from the city centre.

 In Malaysia, Hindu community normally celebrate two main festivals which are Thaipusam and Deepavali. Both are celebrated as national holidays, which signify their importance to the Hindu community and Malaysians as a whole.

During Thaipusam, family members would gather and adorn the best dresses such a nice kurta or beautiful saari and get ready for a day outing. Most will take their time to drop by at their favourite temple, to offer prayers to the deities. They will pray for longevity, health and safety.

It is an interesting fact that Thaipusam in Malaysia was first celebrated in 1891, and this year marks 130th anniversary of celebration. The 15-km procession – almost like a big carnival – will start from to Sri Mahamariaman in the capital towards the Batu Cave temple. One significant ritual is to smash the coconuts on the road, as a symbolic gesture of defeating evil.

You would easily identify the proud devotees from afar, by the bright yellow or orange colour they don and many shape of kavadis. In reality, preparations took place weeks before the Thaipusam arrives. Some pilgrims arrived days earlier, ready to welcome the big days. As the men are carrying kavadis, women devotees normally carry paal kudam (milk offering).

There will be a huge crowd – it is said that approximately 1 million people pay homage in honor of Lord Murugan. The 3-day long festival will see devotees and visitors performing rituals such as kavadi attam (kavadi dance), food offerings and carrying many forms of kavadi (burden).

There are many side activities prepared for the occasion, which are taking place along the area. For examples, there are many stalls providing free foods, beverages and sweats to bystanders and visitors, donated by kind philanthropists for all. There are also stalls selling souvenirs, snacks, incense and more.

Thaipusam is also celebrated in style more prominently in places such in Penang, where the procession takes place in Penang Road, as devotees heed to Sivan Temple in Dato Keramat Road for ablutions, and body-piercing. It is certainly a scnene not to be missed!  

(foto: www.culturetrip.com & www.nst.com)