Penang Thaipusam: Scenes from the Festival

Scenes from the Penang Thaipusam festival. During the 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).

Penang Street Art ( A Chingay Procession)

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A steel rod sculpture showing caricature of a Chingay Procession, a traditional local Chinese street art performance held annually here. This sculpture can be found at Prangin Road Ghaut.

From the Chingay website;
Chingay originated from China, and the Penang Chinese first performed Chingay in 1919 during deity processions. It is a street art where the performer balances a giant flag that ranges from 25 ft to 32 ft in height and about 60 pounds in weight.

Over the years, the local Chinese has been improvising the Chingay performance. From a basic giant flag balancing by a solo performer, Chingay has developed to a team performance that consists of more than 15 persons in a troupe. Today, Chingay is not only performed by the Chinese, but the art has successfully attracted the Malays and Indians. It has become a very unique multiracial performance.

Penang Isle: Thaipusam Festival Scenes

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For these devotees, they were pulling the large chariot for the Hindu goddess Kali via ropes which were hooked to the back of their bodies.

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Piercing is very common for the devotees.

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For some, it was a family affair.

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Ropes with hooks attached at the back of the devotees.

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Devotees usually prepare for the celebration by cleansing themselves through prayer and fasting approximately 48 days before Thaipusam.

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During this day, devotees will shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens). In Penang, the pilgrimage’s common destination is the Waterfall Hill Temple.

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Hindus generally take a vow to offer a kavadi to a deity or god for the purpose of tiding over or averting a great calamity.

More scenes can be found HERE.

Penang Isle: A Chinese Procession

The ‘Tua Pek Kong” grand float procession was held by the management of Poh Hock Seah in 2010, the last of such event was held back in 1998. The procession was held once every 12 years (during the Tiger year of the Chinese zodiac).

Tua Pek Kong is one of the pantheon of Malaysian Chinese Gods. It was believed that Tua Pek Kong arrived in Penang 40 years before Francis Light’s arrival.