Traditional costumes, Penang
Held in February each year, this ritual is observed by the hindu tamil community. on the eve of the procession, the devotees will sleep on the floor of the temple. during thaipusam, the hindu devotees will walk barefooted and for ladies, will carry a small jug of milk to the temple and bath the god statue. by doing so, one said is to have fulfilled a pledge made to the hindu God in exchange for one's blessings. some devotees will carry a heavy metal canopy covered with peacock feathers called the "kavadi". the kavadi is held in position by dozens of steel spikes which pierce the flesh of the devotee's chest and back. a skewer passes through both cheeks and another through his tongue. this is really an appalling and disturbing scene, yet the devotees who participate in this extraordinary ritual claim they do not feel any pain.
according to chinese calender, on the first till the ninth day of the ninth chinese lunar month ( vary from september to october ), the chinese (hokkien) celebrate "kao ong yeh" which mean nine heavenly god. whereby they will only consume vegetarian food such as tofu, rice, noodles, food make of flour and vegetable. you will notice hawker stalls along the road side hung up yellow cloth indicate that they are selling vegetarian food. by the way you can find veg pork, beef, chicken, burger, satay etc taste like real... inspite of food, the believer will pray at the "kao ong yeh" temple. by the way, not only the chinese celebrate this festival but minority indian practise it too. there was a myth saying that there will be pouring rain on the ninth day in order to cleanse the road for "kao ong yeh" back to heaven. believe it or not, mysteriously, it rains every year on that day itself...
Chinese new year, which once marked the beginning of spring in China, begins on the first day of the lunar calendar year, the first day of the new moon, and ends on the 15th day, known as Chap Goh Meh (chinese's valentine day), the last day of the full moon.
The eve of CNY is probably the high point of the celebration as it is on this day that family members from far and near will return home for the reunion dinner.
After the reunion feast, entire families will try to stay up all night in adherence to shou sui, a practice which is believed to bring one's parents longevity.
Mind you, firecrackers and fireworks are prohibited in Malaysia.
Beliefs and tradition :
* for the whole 15-day period, a break is taken on the third day. visiting is discouraged on that day, as it is believed that, fighting or misfortune may befall the family.
* no one is allowed to sweep the floor on the first day of the New Year as it is considered sweep away one's good luck and fortune.
* On the seventh day of CNY, which is considered as the birthday of all human beings, the Cantonese community partakes in a dish called yee sang, a simple mixture of thin slices of raw fish, shredded vegetables, herbs and sauces. This practice is said to herald prosperity for the coming year.
* The eighth day is a time of prayer. The Hokkien community performs a ritual where offerings are made to Tian Gong, the God of Heaven. This often extends into the ninth day.
* The 15th and last day, Chap Goh Meh, which is often regarded as the Chinese Valentine's day, has got to be the throwing of oranges into the river. It is believed that maidens would attract good husbands if they adhere to this practice.
chinese people in malaysia celebrate Ching ming (tomb sweeping day) on the 15th february in chinese lunar calender. before the dawn is breaking, lots of people (mostly middle age as the younger generation need more sleep indeed *grin* it's hard for me to succumbing to my bed's temptation in the morning) crowded the cemetery as to pay respect to their ancestor. there are pros and cons for this day (IMHO).
PROS : - family gathering ( far away relatives or grown up children will gather on this day to pay their respect/gratitude to their ancestor)
- filial piety
- lots of food/offering after the prayer
- good reason to exercise as u have to hike up the hill or stairs and u ought to clean the grassy tomb, repaint the tomb stone etc
- a bliss for certain stale industrials before the prayer.
CONS : - air pollution ( open burning of blessed papers, paper made offering, grass etc)
- traffic jam
- sunburn ( run all over penang for different graveyard if u have decease relatives buried at different places)
- not a public holiday in Malaysia
in the picture, there is a lady who was busy preparing the offering for her ancestor. after she has done, a piece of yellow paper has to be pasted on top of the treasure box with her ancestor's name on it. it's like sending a parcel to someone, u need to address the receiver, don't u? mind boggling-huh, it sounds resonable and u could get his and her treasure box which come in blue and red colour.
Basically you don't have to travel to China to see the performance as u can find it here in Penang. but mind u, my mum used to tell me dun watch on the first day of the performance as that day of the chinese opera is not meant for human being but our brothers - "spirits/ghost". may be you are daring enough to enjoy the show on the first day with those intangible friends...eweee...
"You wan massaash sir?" you can hear at nearly any beach in the Orient. Massage may be the oldest and simplest form of medical care. A Chinese book from 2,700 B.C., The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, recommends "breathing exercises, massage of skin and flesh, and exercises of hands and feet" as the appropriate treatment for -complete paralysis, chills, and fever.
To people of the Orient it is quite normal to touch each other and, when needed rub away some pain. That could be behind the ears, back of the head, forehead, shoulders, back. Just to relax the muscles, the body, the thoughts. Aching backs, muscular tension and sprains can spoil a good holiday.
Just try a brisk massage at the beach, at the hotel garden and, feel the moving energy through pathways in the body and increasing blood circulation at the same time. I had some... and felt really great after ...
when i was a student (regardless how high is my qualification), my mum used to take me to Quan Yin Temple for blessing, asking favour for knowledgeable and intellectual...etc. now, as i get older and perhaps wiser, my mum would take me there to be blessed with em... husband (sigh...typical chinese thinking !!!). The temple will be pack of devotees during chinese new year, certain festival and before any public examination.
If you are lucky, you might catch some Malay people wearing their traditional wear. Usually worn for weddings, funerals or even normal functions.
In the picture, you will see 5 guys wearing them.
In Malaysia many of the women wear head dresses because a large part of the country is muslim. They have to be worn when out in public. These do not have to be worn by women who are not muslim that are in the country.