Tuesday, January 21

Thaipusam procession back after absence of two years

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KUCHING: The colourful Thaipusam procession made a comeback here yesterday after an absence of two years.

Sri Srinivasagar Kaliamman Temple secretary R Nadison said the procession had not been held because the temple was undergoing an extensive renovation and beautification programme.

A total of 15 devotees carried offerings in Paal Kudam or milk pots, while one pulled the Ratham or holy shrine of Lord Murugan with ropes spiked to his skin from the Satok Bridge to the temple at Ban Hock Road.

“According to Hindu beliefs, Thaipusam is a holy month where it commemorates the Goddess Parvati, who gave Lord Murugan a spear — Vel to vanquish the evil demon Soorapadmam,” said Nadison.

“Today, many Hindu devotees who have done their ritual and spiritual cleansing will seek solace from the goddess.”

He explained that other Hindu community members would walk behind the devotees and chant the word Vel to praise Lord Murugan for his bravery.

Devotees and their family members assembled as early as 7am under the Satok Bridge for the various rituals including the shaving ceremony.

Eight-month-old N Vetrievel was the centre of attention when he had his head shaved.

“This is the first time the shaving of the hair on the boy’s head was done to my son as a symbol of ritual cleansing in the Hindu religion and later I hope that my son will devote his faith to Lord Murugan,” said his father B Nethiya.

Meanwhile, Nadison called on the state government to give recognition to Thaipusam by declaring it a public holiday.

He said there are 8,000 Indians in the state, of which 6,000 live here.