Tuesday, 30 March 2010

More from the Pangguni Uthiram festival in Bukit Mertajam

Maybe I should share a few more photos from the Pangguni Uthiram festival in Bukit Mertajam yesterday. These were taken in the late afternoon when I was returning from the island. As usual, I had forgotten about the traffic jam in the town and drove smack into it. However, the jam gave me an opportunity to see this Hindu festival from up close.

First, this was the scene at the junction of the Kulim Road and Jalan Maju. The chariot carrying the image of their Hindu deity had stopped there before turning back to its main temple, the 117-year-old Sri Mangalanayagi Amman Devasthanam Temple. While most of the devotees were Indians, there were also quite a number of Chinese devotees. In fact, there was also a float from a Chinese temple that had joined in the festivities.......

The chariot is on the left. On the right is a make-shift roadside Hindu temple. Can see several Chinese devotees mingling in the crowd.

These are the people who will be pulling the chariot back to the Sri Mangalanayagi Amman Devasthanam Temple. It's a welcome rest for them as they wait for all the devotees to finish. However, it was a long, long wait as it was almost an endless stream of devotees.

The offerings were fruits and flowers. Bananas and coconuts were prominent.

Two of the more colourful characters in the crowd. Of course, I know the significance of the cow in Hinduism. It's their sacred animal. So, for this man to dress up as a cow, complete with four udders, well, it's his way of celebrating the festival. I've no comment about the chap in blue, though...

I was just about to go off when I saw this procession from the direction of Kulim, led by this determined-looking woman with a baby in her arms. That's why I say the line of devotees seemed rather endless. Just as the priests in the chariot thought they had finished with the devotees around them, here comes another batch of them,

Anyway, I had to leave. But on the way home, I stopped by the Hindu temple outside my neighbourhood. They were also having their own celebration. In fact, they were preparing the kavadi carriers and other devotees who would be making their way down to the main temple later.

I was much surprised to see a lion dance troupe and quite a number of Chinese participants. For example, this man was pulling this cart from the hooks on his back. Of course, it wasn't all his own strength as others were helping by pushing the cart along.

Awesome, both the above picture and the one below. To have a clearer view, just click on the images.

Finally, I just want to give a close-up view of the cart that I had mentioned earlier. Not only is there an image of the Hindu deity, there's also a small statue of the Laughing Buddha. By my reckoning, the Pangguni Uthiram festival is tailor-made for both the Tamils and the Chinese to get together and worship.

I heard that there was a fire-walking ceremony at the main temple in the town later in the evening. However, that should a story for some other day as I gave that a miss. Nothing will get me into another traffic jam, especially with 20,000 people expected there!

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