Thaipusam is celebrated by the Tamil community during the auspicious month of Thai. The word Thaipusam is a combination of the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Pusam, which is at its highest point during the festival.
In Singapore, during Thaipusam one gets to see a large, colourful procession of devotees seeking blessings, fulfilling vows and offering thanks to Lord Muruga, who represents virtue, youth and power, and is the destroyer of evil.
The festival generally lasts two days. On the eve of Thaipusam, the chariot procession carrying the statue of Lord Muruga proceeds from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Serangoon Road to Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple at Keong Siak Road. In the Hindu pantheon, Lord Ganesha is the elder brother of Lord Muruga. The stopover of the chariot signifies respect to an elder and also to pray to Lord Ganesha, revered as the remover of obstacles.
The Thaipusam procession starts early in the morning. The first batch of devotees carry milk pots or wooden kavadis, decorated with flowers and peacock feathers balanced on their shoulders, while other devotees carry spiked “alagu” kavadis that are more elaborate to their destination at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple at Tank Road, the end point of the nearly five kilometre route.