Singapore, Jan 28 (PTI) The Tamil Hindu community in Singapore marked the annual Thaipusam festival on Thursday with muted celebrations amid stringent restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main ceremony was held at the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, reported The Straits Times.
Stringent restrictions were in place at this year's festival due to safety measures on crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic as devotees completed temperature screening before entering the temple with milk pots as offerings to the God.
Kavadis - wooden or metal structures with milk offerings, ceremonial piercings and the traditional loud fanfare and music accompanying the foot procession from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road to Thendayuthapani Temple were missing this year.
About 5,000 people had booked time slots at the temple for the milk pot offerings and, unlike previous years. There were no large crowds and musical instruments at this year's festival.
The word Thaipusam is a combination of the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Pusam (Tamil word for Pushya). The festival commemorates the occasion when Goddess Parvati gave Murugan (aka Kartikeya) a 'spear' so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman and his brothers.
'There are a lot of changes in place but our devotion remains the same. The organisers have been very careful with the safety measures in place, and we were able to spend enough time at the sanctum to pray,' 24-year old student Losheini Ravindranc told The Straits Times.
'Although Thaipusam (is) very different this year, I think the event was well-organised, especially the routes to separate general devotees and those carrying milk pots. We are glad that we were able to come and pray on this day, even with all the measures in place,' said 41-year old Ganesh Kumar, who had carried kavadis in the past.
'I hope next year things will be back to normal and we can have a lively Thaipusam again,' he added. PTI GS NSA