Friday, February 5, 2010
Any celebration that involves the gathering of vast numbers of people will of course invite entrepreneurs of every description out to make some profit for themselves. Thaipusam is no exception. The organizers also add to their coffers by renting space to such enterprises. Food and drinks are a sure thing.
This guy seemed a little out of place here, yet one must admire his entrepreneurial spirit.
One of the unique features of the Thaipusam festival is the presence of the many barber sheds offering head shaving services.
I noticed a difference in the banners in Tamil. (I shot this as both banners were side by side.) The white banner with green writing 'Mudi Erakkum Edam' literary translates as the 'place to take down (or cut) your hair' while the yellow banner says 'Mudi Kaanikai Edam' i.e. 'place to offer (as in sacrifice) your hair'.
The difference did not seem significant to me as both type of stalls had hair scattered all over the floor. However I saw this when I went to the river:
Most of my Hindu friends could not explain the above rite to me, that is until I asked one of my colleagues who happens to be active in his local temple.
According to him, "most Hindus are ignorant of the significance of shaving their heads. They just take the shaving as a required ritual.
"The hair is like our crown. We should only sacrifice our crown to God and it is usually done on auspicious occasions like Thaipusam or other celebrations.
"The hair is then collected, and a piece of camphor is lighted (signifying God Agni) to witness our penitence. The hair together with the lighted camphor is placed on a betel leaf or piece of banana leaf, then floated down the river where, it is hoped, it will eventually meet the sea."
Thanks Vicky for the info.