Held during the full moon of the 10th Tamil month, called Thai, which usually falls in mid January, Thaipusam is a Hindu festival that is celebrated each year within the Tamil community in Singapore. It is a highly symbolic celebration in honour of Lord Subrahmanya, a god representing youth and power and known to be the destroyer of all-evil. On this day, they seek blessings and offer their thanks by carrying milk pots and wooden Kavadis along a 4-5km walk.
The ceremony starts in the early morning hours when devotees gather at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple along Serangoon Road in Little India to prepare for the procession. While praying and chanting to dizzying rhythms of Indian drums, a priest attaches a spiked Kavadi on the shoulders of a devotee. A Kavadi consists of two semicircular wooden or steel pieces and it is decorated with flowers, palm leaves and colourful peacock feathers. Some devotees also pierce their tongues with skewers; others pull a Kavadi on wheels attached by hooks to their upper back. On their head they carry heavy milk pots as an offering to Lord Subrahmanya.
After several hours of preparation in the temple, devotees, accompanied by a large group of family and friends, leave one after the other the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to go on the 5km walk to join Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road. The Thaipussam festival is a spectacle attracting quite a crowd, also expect traffic to come to stand still on some parts along their way through Little India.
If you want to watch the Thaipussam spectacle, we suggest to start your journey somewhere along Serangoon Road at around 9 / 9.30am to watch the first devotees passing by and then walk toward the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to see the preparations in the temple.
Watch our Thaipussam video to better understand what this festival is all about and keep an eye on our events page for the current edition.