GEORGE TOWN. MALAYSIA, February 3, 2023 (New Strait Times): Devotees have expressed happiness and gratitude that they are able to celebrate Thaipusam this year without any restrictions. After two years of muted celebration due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s three-day state-level Thaipusam celebrations kicked off early this morning to a spectacular start. A. Jeyasree, 32, a senior Human Resource executive, said she felt excited to be able to come out and be as close to the dual chariots as possible to seek blessings and protection for her and her family. “In fact, many of my family members from outstation are back here to celebrate Thaipusam. That is what’s important… to be able to celebrate together as one big happy family,” she said when met while welcoming the arrival of the dual chariots here.

Continuing with age-old traditions, the golden and silver chariots bearing Lord Muruga, took to the streets here early this morning accompanied by thousands of devotees. The golden chariot, pulled by devotees, left the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Queen Street just before 6:30am. The silver chariot, pulled by bulls, left the Kovil Veedu temple at Penang Street about an hour later as it headed to the Nattukkottai Chettiars Temple at Waterfall Road. It follows the same route. The dual chariots are expected to reach their destinations past midnight. Along the way, tens of thousands lined the streets to welcome the chariots, breaking coconuts as offerings in its path, a key annual ritual. Many also offered up platters of fruits. Thaipusam commemorates the day when, according to Hindu belief, the Goddess Pavarthi gave Lord Muruga a lance to slay evil demons. This year will be the 237th year Thaipusam is being celebrated by the temple.