Penang Thaipusam Kavadi Attam Procession 2017

Penang Thaipusam Kavadi Attam 2017

Penang is blessed with a large Tamil Indian population. As a result, there is an annual Penang Thaipusam celebration for the Hindu God of War named Lord Murugan. Lord Murugan is the embodiment of Shiva’s light and wisdom. Also, it was Murugan who Shiva dispatched to defeat the army of evil demons (Asuras) at the behest of the Devas. Murugan is believed to be the vanquisher of evil. Therefore, devotees pray to him to overcome obstacles in their life and rid themselves of impurities.

Lord MuruganLord Murugan

Thaipusam can be broken down into two words. “Thai” is the Tamil month of January/February and “Pusam” is that name of a star that is of great significance. Additionally, the date of the Thaipusam celebration is significant for several reasons.

  1. Thaipusam is held when the star “Pusam” is at it’s highest point.
  2. This is the day that Parvati gave the spear “Vel” to Murugan to use against the demon army of Asuras.
  3. Additionally, some devotees believe that Thaipusam falls on Murugan’s birthday.

There is a magnificent Hindu temple in Penang dedicated to Lord Murugan called Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani a.k.a. “Waterfall temple”. The temple sits on the side of Penang Hill majestically looking over George Town, Penang.

View of the “Waterfall Temple” from the Jalan Kabun BungaWaterfall Temple

There is a climb of 513 steps to reach the temple on the hillside.

Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani

Penang Thaipusam Kavadi Attam 2017

Kavadi Attam means “burden dance”. Therefore, Kavadi is a physical burden that is to be carried by the devotee and then offered to Lord Murugan at his temple. Additionally, the Kavadi can take different forms such as a pail of milk (paal kavadi), bodily skin piercings and also heavy physical loads. As a result, the kavadi can be significant weighing up to 100 kilograms.

Surprisingly, it is believed that the skin piercings leave no scars and there is no bleeding from the wounds. Additionally, if preformed properly it is believed that the Kavadi Attam puts the devotee into a trance. Therefore, they feel no pain and suffering.

If Lord Murugan hears their prayers and receives their sacrifice the devotees may receive his assistance to balance a spiritual debt. Additionally, Lord Murugan may be asked to help heal a loved one who has fallen ill.

Kavadi Preparations for Thaipusam

The preparations devotees make for the Thaipusam celebration begin a full 48 days in advance. They must cleanse themselves of all mental and physical impurities. Also, for the entire 48 days they take only one vegetarian meal per day and the last 24 hour period before they perform the attam requires a complete fast.

Additionally, there are several more elements of purification.

  1. Complete sexual abstinence
  2. No alcohol
  3. Vegetarian food only
  4. Constant prayer
  5. Transcendence of desire
  6. Bath in cold water
  7. Sleep on the floor

Kavadi Attam Thaipusam 2017

Kavadi Attam Thaipusam 2017

For them I wish that Lord Murugan will be pleased and will therefore fulfill their prayers.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kavadi_Attam
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batu_Caves
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaipusam
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arulmigu_Balathandayuthapani_Temple,_Penang