What is Thaipusam without a chariot procession?

The popular dual chariot procession, carrying the statue of Lord Murugan, is most likely to be cancelled next year due to Covid-19 in an effort to avoid mass gatherings. The parade of the over 100-year-old silver chariot and the new golden chariot is the highlight of the annual three-day Thaipusam celebration in the district.

Prof Dr P Ramasamy, Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang, said that the Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) will embark on a very responsible consideration and cautious decision in the interest of the public at large.

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Source: Theedgemarket

“We have yet to determine on whether or not to have a chariot procession on Thaipusam. I don’t want to preempt anything. Soon we’re going to hold a series of meetings and let the health experts decide,” said Ramasamy who is also PHEB Chairman.

Next year, Thaipusam falls on 28th January but devotees will make arrangements as early as three months before the date to fulfil their vows.

Malaysia’s Thaipusam festival is celebrated in at least four locations on a grand scale, namely the Sri Subramaniyar Swamy Temple in Batu Caves, Selangor; Sri Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple in George Town, Penang; Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Ipoh, Perak; and Sri Subramaniya Swamy Temple in Sungai Petani, Kedah. 

Meanwhile, Datuk R.S Mohan Shan, Malaysia Hindu Sangam Chief, said next year’s Thaipusam celebration would focus on the condition of Covid-19 and the government’s decision with regards to the CMCO and SOPs respectively. 

He urged Hindu devotees, if the festival is not permitted to be observed on a wide scale, they should honour the government’s decision: 

“It is a matter of health and life. As such, we will probably have to make a wise decision,” Mohan Shan added.

To overcome the issue, the temple compliance team have made a quick move by listing out ways to monitor and handle the crowd during Thaipusam.