Photo by Callous Gee
Thaipusam is an annual festival where countless Hindu devotees from across the world participate in one of the most intrinsic and spiritual celebrations there is. According to Wonderful Malaysia, when the festival actually takes place is based on a full moon day in the month of Thai (either January or February) in the Hindu calendar. The word itself “Thaipusam” comes from the word “thai”, the name of the festival month, and “pusam,” the name of a star. This particular festival is celebrated because of the goddess Parvati who gave Vel, which is a sacred spear, to Lord Muruga. With this, Lord Muruga helped conquer evil from the demon, “Soorapadman,” who invaded the heavens and took the “devas” (divine beings) as his prisoners. The celebration itself is a time for prayers and penance. Most of us know that it is celebrated in India and throughout South East Asia. But, according to Roots, it is also practised in Mauritius, Fiji and some Caribbean Islands.
Let’s have a little history lesson and learn more about where Thaipusam is famously celebrated at and why it’s even a celebration in Malaysia. An article by the BBC says that Thaipusam was brought to Malaysian shores in the 1800s when Indian migrants started to work on rubber estates and government offices. From there, the practices were celebrated amongst the Hindu community and blossomed into a festival for them to carry out prayers and ceremonies. The site of Batu Caves was promoted as a place of worship by K. Thamboosamy Pillai, who was an Indian trader. According to an article on LinkedIn, it started back in 1891 when he asked his close associates to scout for an ideal place of worship for Lord Muruga. The location of Batu Caves was brought to his attention. The vel-shaped entrance of the main cave is what mainly inspired him to dedicate a temple to Lord Muruga within the c