Long ago, in the vibrant and magical land of India, battled two armies, the Asuras and the Devas. On and on again, the Asuran forces would overpower and demolish the Devas. And so the weakened troops of the Devas prayed to the Lord Shiva. Deeming their penance and prayers worthy, he granted them aid and from his spirit created Murugan, the mighty warrior to lead and assure them of victory. Murugan stepped down from the heavens and walked the earth to be the champion for the Devas, strengthened and inspired the army unto the eventual defeat of their enemies. And thus, to mark that significant day, the feast of Thaipusam was born. A celebrated day for the Tamil community, it is a world-renowned feast day. Its colorful theme and loud drums are attended by millions worldwide. But none of the festivals elsewhere are better than the ones in Malaysia.
If you’re into traveling, learning culture firsthand, and experiencing what the world has to offer, then this festival is definitely a must for you. But how do you prepare for it? Here are the three main things to prepare for if you are to join the parades of Thaipusam.
- Prepare Your Way
First and foremost, you would want to know your way to your festival. As each origin differs, it is advisable to read up on the routes you should take to avoid traffic and delays. Remember, this is a very big festival so it’s better to arrive earlier. A traveler’s tip would be to book a hotel in Georgetown, Penang days before the festival, so you could have a head start.
- Prepare Your Knowledge
To have better understanding of the rituals and the processions, it would be good to read up on the history of the festival. That way, you can actually enjoy it more than the others!
- Prepare Yourself
This is a very loud festivity, and at times rowdy. It is best to prepare yourself for some of the acts that you will see here. If you have read about the festival, you know that things are bound to get painful… for the devotees. There will be hooks on flesh, shaving of heads, spikes through cheeks just to name a few. Be sure to have a stomach you can rely on. Not just for that blood curling penance but for the free food too.
Needles and hooks aside, the festival is very much enjoyable. The firsthand experience of the culture and the actual preservation and consistency of the festival is indeed able to satisfy any traveler’s wanderlust. So what are you waiting for? Book a hotel in Georgetown, Penang and let the good times roll from there!