Although I've stayed in Singapore for more than 11 years, it is my first time to see the Thaipusam festival there. And since I'm not a Hindu, I have no idea what it is all about, therefore, I've taken the explanation below copied from Yoursingapore.com for your info.
Thaipusam is a highly symbolic Hindu festival celebrated by Singapore’s Tamil community. It is an annual procession by Hindu devotees seeking blessings, fulfilling vows and offering thanks. Celebrated in honor of Lord Subrahmanya (also known as Lord Murugan), who represents virtue, youth and power to Hindus and is the destroyer of evil, it is held during the full moon in the 10th Tamil month, called Thai, which falls in mid-January each year.
|Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple|
In Singapore, the Thaipusam ceremony starts in the early hours of the morning where devotees fulfill their vows with a 4.5 km walk from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple along Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road.
|Devotee carrying Kavadis|
|Piercing tongue w/ skewers and carrying spiked Kavadis|
The festival is not just an exclusively Indian affair; several Chinese devotees and people of other races also come to fulfill their vows on this day.
Click here for the link of the video.
The festival is a visual spectacle and it often brings traffic in the city centre to a standstill, with a colorful procession full of chanting and dizzying rhythms of Indian drums. Watch the video above!!!
In preparation for carrying a Kavadi, a devotee has to prepare himself spiritually. For a period of about a month, the devotee must live a life of abstinence whilst maintaining a strict vegetarian diet. It is believed that only when the mind is free of material wants and the body free from physical pleasures that a devotee can undertake the sacred task without feeling any pain. The devotees are normally accompanied by friends and family members who cheer and offer support, usually in the form of prayers and chants. Witness the sacred ritual of Thaipusam when in Singapore, a true act of faith
|Small children were spotted to participate happily - even a baby :)|