During my first week in Kuala Lumpur, I’ve adjusted to the time difference, become acquainted with some of eHomemakers’ operations and eco-baskets, and attended the Hindu festival Thaipusam.
Before coming to Malaysia, the Executive Director of eH, Ching Ching, suggested that I come in time for the festival, the largest of its kind in the world. I hadn’t heard of it before but when I consulted google images, I was struck by what I saw…piercings through the face and tongue and fruit attached to hooks and inserted into devotees’ backs. Having never seen anything like this in person, I knew I had to experience it firsthand to find out what this holiday was all about.
The festivities take place at Batu Caves, where a towering, golden statue of the Hindu God of War, Lord Murugan resides. Lord Murugan is the son of the Hindu God of Destruction, Lord Shiva, and Parvati, The Divine Mother and Love Goddess.
During the month leading up to Thaipusam, devotees practice piety by remaining celibate, meditating, praying, refraining from thinking impure thoughts or consuming alcohol, and only eating one satvic meal per day, which mainly consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These practices are believed to bring peace, strength, and clarity to those who perform them.
Believers gather at Batu Caves to repent for their sins and ask Lord Murugan to grant them blessings. Prayers may include curing an ailing relative, giving birth to a healthy child, wishing for good grades in school, or hoping for prosperity. Those who believe their wishes were granted throughout the year also return to give thanks and show their devotion to Lord Murugan.
Posted By Maria Skouras
Posted Jan 22nd, 2011