#ThroughYourEyes: A Thaipusam Experience
"I was inspired by the strong faith that the devotees observed in celebrating Thaipusam."
Almost a decade has passed, but I can still vividly feel my first ever experience going to a Thaipusam celebration. The smell of incense and the sound of people chanting prayers filled the atmosphere of Batu Caves, a limestone hill with a cave temple situated in the district of Gombak in Selangor, Malaysia.
From a far, I could see people smashing old coconuts, a symbolic thanksgiving act by the Hindus celebrating the festivity. Everywhere, I could see people with piercings and hooks carrying their ‘Kavadi’ towards the Batu Caves temple.
Thaipusam is a religious celebration, much like Eid Al-Adha, with all the symbolic rituals to be followed and performed by the devotees. It is celebrated mostly by Tamil Hindus on the full moon in the month of Thai. Every year, a throng of people disregard of race and religion will head over to Batu Caves, one of the focal points for the celebration in Malaysia.
What amazed me the most is the fact that the devotees could carry the ‘Kavadi’ while being pierced and hooked and though the ‘Kavadi’ varies in shape and size, most of the time, it is usually heavier than the weight of the person who was carrying it.
I even saw a few that were bleeding while others acted as if the ‘Kavadi’ was just a piece of paper, so light that they could carry it effortlessly. Bear in mind that the Batu Caves temple has 272 steps of stairs and to climb the stairs with ‘Kavadi’ is a no easy task.
Once, a friend of mine from Brazil visited me and she wanted to go to Batu Caves. Although I was fasting as it was the month of Ramadhan, I climbed up the stairs with her under the hot scorching sun. I felt so exhausted and just wanted to lie down as soon as I reached the top.
But the Hindu devotees that carried those heavy structures while climbing Batu Caves did it with simply no complaints. Instead, I could feel and sense the joy and satisfaction of fulfilling their beliefs. This is due to no other reasons but faith and I have a huge respect for that.
Faith can indeed make people do the impossible. We should be inspired by and emulate the strong faith that the devotees observe in celebrating Thaipusam.
By having faith, we Muslims can fast from sunrise till sunset. By having faith, we can pray five times a day and by having faith, we can perform the Halal and avoid the Haram. In shaa Allah~