The Tamil community in Singapore celebrated the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam with pomp and fanfare on February 5, after a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic curbs in place.
Thaipusam commemorates Lord Murugan, the God of War and Fertility. In the celebrations, the devotees participate in a range of activities, including balancing brass pots of milk on their heads, piercing their bodies with hooks and skewers, and carrying wooden structures called kavadis decorated with peacock feathers and spears.
This year, the festivities started at 11.30 pm on Saturday and continued until late on Sunday night. More than 35,000 devotees were joined by Singapore’s Manpower Minister Tan See Leng at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple. Tan interacted with devotees and volunteers and watched kavadi-bearers, and carried a milk pot around the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. Around 450 kavadi-bearers made the 3.2 km journey barefoot between the two major Lord Murugan temples in this affluent city-state. Both the temples were built by the early settlers who migrated to Singapore from Tamil Nadu. The festival of Thaipusam was introduced during the colonial era by Tamil migrants working on rubber estates. It is a major event in Singapore and Malaysia due to the thriving Tamil population in the countries.