The Thaipusam Festival is celebrated around the world by all Hinduism followers. The colorful, mystical, and religious celebration is such so grand that it has become part of annual feast on nations with majority of Hindu. Celebration of Thaipusam is considered a national holidays in countries like Fiji, Malaysia, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka.
Other countries observe the Thaipusam Festival such as Caribbean, Indonesia, Guyana, Jamaica, Myanmar, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Rĕunion, Singapore, Suriname, and other parts of the world that have communities of Hinduism followers.
Perhaps, the festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia is one of the biggest celebrations. For one, it has a special mark in the Malaysian calendar where offices, schools and other business establish closed for a day just to observe the festivity.
The Taipusam in Malaysia is celebrated every full moon of Thai which is usually months of January or February. This year, Malaysians celebrate it on the 21st day of January. The celebration is in reverence to Lord Murugan, a Hindu deity who is the youngest son of Shiva.
How Do Malaysians Celebrate Thaipusam Festival?
The celebration starts where Hinduism devotees would observe a penance of food abstinence or will dedicate a vegetarian diet within a given number of days. This is in making oneself cleans before the Thaipusam day.
The Thaipusam Festival in Malaysia is the largest celebration in the world, even bigger in Singapore and Indonesia. Usually, Malaysians who practice Hinduism often celebrate it within their community. But the grandest and colorful celebrations happen in few of the famous tourists’ destination in Malaysia.
The Penance And Pilgrimage
Even though this is a Hindu celebration, the Batu Cave is flocked with influx of tourists because of wanting to witness the celebration in Sri Subramaniar Swarmy Temple. A lot of devotees would gather around and offer various bowls of milk which they have carried from where seems to be like a pilgrimage at Sri Mahamariamn Temple in Jalan Tun HS Lee.
The devotion walk barefoot starts the night before the festival from the Sri Mahamariam Temple which Hindi devotees are all wearing a Kavadi. The costume is much elaborate attire which weighs up to 80 kilograms! The devotees are expected to arrive the Batu Ceve in the morning climbing over 272 steps in Batu Caves. Every year the local government in Malaysia records about 10,000 people either participating or just tourist who wants to witness the huge and monumental festival.
The Thaipusam Festival is done every year because Hindu followers believe if they do so, this would represent their petition to their god of courage, wealth, and wisdom – Murugan; asking their god for prosperity, and whatever wishes they ask once they completed the pilgrimage on Thaipusam day. According to their religion, the world was saved by Murugan by killing demons using his spear.
How To Reach Batu Caves
The Batu Cave is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia especially during the Thaipusam festival. You can book flight to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. From the airport, you can either rent a cab or ride a bus going to Gombak, Selangor.
Accommodations around the area are abundant since the place is a famous tourist spot, however booking ahead of time is more convenient. You can use legitimate online hotel and apartment rental bookings website, like Bookings.com, Airbnb, or Trivago.
The Food Festivities
On top of the Batu Cave, lines of market stalls that sells various snacks, meals, drinks, religious relics, souvenirs and other Hindu related items.
After a period of fasting or strict vegetarian diet, the food selections displayed inside Batu Cave area is a rewarding thing to see. Devotees can enjoy the market inside and feast on food that they are able to purchase. All festivities should all end in food, right?
- Sri Subramanjar Swamy Temple, Sungai Petani in Kedah
- Waterfall Hill Temple in Penang
- Sri Subramanjar Swamy Temple, Ipoh in Perak