THE Chitraparuvam Festival in Penang has been a yearly affair for devotees Kenny Lim and Shasha Wong.
Seen wearing traditional Indian attire during the mini Thaipusam parade at Waterfall Road, Lim and Wong even brought a Bhajan cart which played devotional music.
Wong, 45, who designed the cart carrying Lord Ganesha, said she has been paying her respects during Thaipusam and Chitraparuvam for over 20 years.
“I think it is fate that helped us become devotees of Lord Ganesha and Lord Muruga,” she said.
Devotees placing the statue of Lord Muruga onto the chariot.
“More than 20 years ago, my friend brought me to a Hindu temple and after that, I felt destined to become a Hindu devotee,” she added.
Lim, 44, who is a childhood friend of Wong, has also been a firm believer of Hinduism for about 20 years.
“I go to India each year to pay my respects at the temples there,” he said.
Meanwhile, exchange students from Finland, Sissi Luoto, 21, and Annika Rautavaara, 25, said the festival was an eye-opening experience for them.
“This is our first time in Penang and we do not get to see these types of celebrations in Finland.
Luoto and Rautavaara from Finland enjoying the Chitraparuvam Festival.
“The culture here is just so beautiful and it is wonderful to see everyone dressing up in colourful dresses and looking so happy,” Luoto said.
Hindu Mahajana Sangam president Dr Chandra Malairaja said the procession was held to mark the first full moon of the Tamil New Year.
“The chariot parade carrying Lord Muruga starts from the Waterfall Temple,” said Dr Chandra.
“It then passes through Jalan Kebun Bunga, Macalister Road, Penang Road and Chulia Street before arriving at Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Queen Street,” he added.
The festival drew more than 20,000 devotees who flocked to various panthal (refreshment stalls) along the way.
Lim (in yellow) and Wong (second right, in orange) joining other devotees in offering prayers to Lord Ganesha at the Bhajan cart as the chariot prepares to leave the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple in Waterfall Road.
The chariot started its journey at 9.30pm and reached the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at about 6am on Sunday.