A large art mural painted on the side wall of a building along Chulia Street in George Town. The mural depicts a scene of Hindu tradition, which is a celebration of Thaipusam. It is also located not far from Penang’s Little India area.
During the Thaipusam festival, the breaking of the coconuts is a ritual practiced by Hindus as an act of cleansing and also to symbolize the renounce of one’s ego at the feet of the presiding deity Lord Muruga (usually carried on a chariot). The most notable or intriguing scene from this festival is the kavadi-bearers, devotees who usually had their bodies pierced while undergoing a pilgrimage during the festival.
The celebration for the birthday of the Jade Emperor falls on the 9th lunar day of Chinese New Year and is celebrated mainly by the Chinese Hokkien community in Penang, which is also commonly referred to as the “Hokkien New Year”.
Two popular areas in Penang where this day is celebrated are the Jade Emperor Pavilion temple at Ayer Itam and the Clan Jetties area (such as the pictures below) at Weld Quay, George Town.