[UPDATE] Thaipusam Penang 2021 Will Not Have Any Kavadis & Chariots
It’s no surprise that the Covid-19 pandemic has dampened many Malaysian festival celebrations and it doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. Thaipusam is one of the major festivals not only celebrated by Indians in Malaysia but has been a landmark celebration in terms of tourism for years, however, it seems like the celebration next year might be very different.
One of the main Thaipusam spots is, of course, the Waterfalls Temple in Penang with its highlight, the dual chariot of gold and silver, bearing the Lord Murugan statue. It seems like the chariot procession might be cancelled next year owing to the pandemic to prevent any mass gathering.
Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) chairman Prof Dr P. Ramasamy said the state will be having a series of meetings to discuss how the Thaipusam celebrations next year will be managed amid the pandemic.
“Our priority is on the safety of all devotees as chariots are the ones that pull in the crowd, once you have chariot procession, the crowd will be very difficult to control. We do not want Thaipusam gathering to spark off any new cluster.”
Speaking to Bernama, he said they have yet to decide regarding the chariot procession and do not wish to preempt anything. A more detailed standard operating procedures (SOP) on Thaipusam celebrations which will be celebrated on 28 January 2021 will be out on the first week of January after discussion with the Health Department, National Security Council and the Royal Malaysia Police.
Ramasamy added that if the authorities decided that there will be no chariot processions, panthal (decorated canopy booth) and kavadi this year, he hoped that the devotees will abide by the rule.
“The people, when it comes to religious matters, might get very emotional but I just want to remind them to adhere to all the SOP set by the authority as it is for the interest of the larger public.”
In an update, Dr P. Ramasamy announced that for the first time in almost 150 years, there will no be chariots processions, kavadis, panthal or even carrying the paal kudam for the Thaipusam celebration on 28 Jan 2021.
“There will only be prayers in both the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple and the Chettiar Temple on Thaipusam Day. We are currently still awaiting for the full list of SOPs from the National Security Council (MKN) for the festival.”
It looks like Penangites will be having a very different type of celebration this year. Nevertheless, to avoid the risk of forming another cluster, SOPs have to be followed strictly at all times!
Also read: Kind M’sians Unite to Clean Up Rubbish After Thaipusam Festival at Batu Caves, Penang & Ipoh
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