Monday, February 9, 2009

Thaipusam And Chap Goh Mei

Today is a holiday in Kuala Lumpur, it being Thaipusam. Thaipusam is a religious festival for Hindus to pay annual homage to Lord Muruga. Near Kuala Lumpur, there is a procession to Batu Caves that is visually quite spectacular. Close to 800,000 people throng Batu Caves for this celebration.

Today also happens to be the final day of Chinese New Year festivities. I must say I'm quite happy to see the end of the festival. So much eating! Every time one attends a house visit, one is obliged to eat what is put in front of you. It is only polite, of course. However, being Chinese, the host will usually pile on more food than one could normally eat - after all it's Chinese New Year - the more you give the more you will receive!

As a result, it plays havoc to my practice. Every vinyasa feels so heavy. So, one more dinner tonight and then back to normal portions tomorrow! For the Hokkiens, tonight is also known as Chap Goh Mei, "the 15th night of Chinese New Year". Also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day, there is a tradition in Penang that single women will throw tangerines into the sea with hope of finding husbands. It is said that if someone else spots a floating tangerine and picks it up, the thrower will find a good spouse.

This reminds me of a time when I was watching the "Sound of Music". There was a scene of the nuns praying; at which point a young girl, next to me, asked "what are they doing?" My answer was that they were praying. Without a second lost, her next question was - "praying for husbands?"

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