SINGAPORE, September 22, 2017 (Straits Times): Solar and lunar eclipses usually draw many admirers eager to view the phenomenon, but there is a lesser known impact when they fall on the same day as the annual Thaipusam procession. As a result of a total lunar eclipse taking place on Jan 31 next year from 6.51pm to 11.11pm, the usual 24-hour procession will be cut short by 5.5 hours as Hindu temples have to be shuttered when darkness comes into play. Hindus consider eclipses inauspicious because “light and energy from the sun or moon are blocked and cannot reach the earth”.
It is an “unprecedented event” where the Thaipusam procession will be cut short in Singapore, said president of the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple Mr. A.R. Ramasamy. He urged the 10,000 or so devotees who will be carrying paal kudams or milk pots to start at night on Jan 30, and the 600 or so kavadi-bearers to begin their journey from 2am on Jan 31. Thaipusam is celebrated in honor of Lord Subramaniam, also known as Lord Murugan, who represents virtue, youth and power, and is the destroyer of evil. Devotees seek blessings and fulfil their vows by carrying milk pots as offerings, or kavadis – structures of steel and wood – with sharp body piercings.