The International Steam Pages


Thaipusam, Penang, 2012 - Day 2

It's sometimes said that somewhere in Penang, there is some kind of festival going on everyday of the year. Of course, some are bigger than others and the Hindu festival of Thaipusam is certainly the biggest public one by far. This is Part 2 of our picture report from February 7th/8th 2012 - click here for Part 1.

On the second day of Thaipusam, the real action begins around sunset. All along the roads near the temple are large piles of coconuts, many donated by Chinese as well as Indian devotees. At over RM1 each, they have to be ordered weeks in advance and piles can contain several hundred...

Outside the main (old) Waterfall Road temple, the empty chariot waits for the statue of Lord Muruga, who personifies the highest state which can be achieved by personal evolution ...

After speeches, blessing and many a thank you to donors, the band strikes up and the statue is swept outside shoulder high:

Meanwhile, It's time to start the serious business of coconut smashing. It's said to be a form of ego smashing...

Many people have brought offerings which will be handed up to be blessed:

 Finally, it's time to roll but progress will be slow, it take most of the night to get back to Queen Street:

Ahead of the procession, the coconut smashing continues unabated, as soon as the last one in the pile hits the ground, an army of cleaners sweeps the remains back into a pile and dumper trucks deposit the remains into a fleet of council trucks, it's all a bit too clinical albeit understandable. Round the corner in what is still known locally by its traditional name Ayer Rajah Road, darkness has fallen and outside almost every house is another pile...

We left the procession as it passed near my old home in Ayer Rajah Close:

To be honest, it's great fun but Thaipusam has become a bit like a circus which has outgrown itself...


Rob and Yuehong Dickinson

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