Malaysian Hindus Celebrate Thaipusam Festival in Penang

February 8, 2006

Source: Bernama

On February 8, 2006 Bernama reported, "More than 500,000 people, including foreign tourists, are expected to throng the Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple near the Botanical Gardens here on Saturday in conjunction with the Thaipusam celebration. Temple Chairman Chandra Kanthan said Wednesday the large number of people was anticipated because the festival falls on the weekend. Hindu devotees would carry various kinds of kavadi and climb the 248 steps up to the Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple located atop a hill. Hindus carry the kavadi and undergo penance by piercing their face and body with metal spikes in fulfillment of vows made to Lord Murugan for having granted their wish for good health, education and such. Some devotees fulfill their vows by carrying pots of milk (paal kodum). Thaipusam is celebrated by Hindus nationwide and elsewhere in the world on the full moon day in the month of Thai in the Tamil calendar, which usually falls in January or February."