No foot procession again for Thaipusam festival on Jan 18
Hindu devotees will not be able to carry out their traditional foot procession for the second year in a row and must be fully vaccinated to take part in next year's Thaipusam festival on Jan 18.
There will also be no kavadis (wooden or metal structures with milk offerings), and only pre-prepared milk pot offerings from the temple can be used.
These are among the rules put in place to ensure that the annual Hindu religious festival continues to take place amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Like this year, there will be no foot procession from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Tank Road, and activities will be conducted only in and around the temple.
The announcement was made last Saturday in a joint statement by the two temples and the Hindu Endowments Board.
Other key changes to the festival include the requirement to pre-book time slots to enter the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple and the banning of gatherings outside the temple.
These measures will prevent overcrowding, said the festival organisers in their statement.
Devotees must follow an assigned pathway and leave the temple premises after they finish giving their offerings and prayers, among other measures.
Kavadis that pierce the body - such as the tongue, cheeks, arms or legs - can result in body fluids spreading from person to person, increasing the risk of Covid-19 infection, said a Sri Thendayuthapani Temple spokesman.
The festival organisers said that these restrictions are needed as the world is experiencing new waves of infections.
They added that they decided to still hold the festival because of its historical significance.
To prevent any potential outbreak of Covid-19, the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple will deny entry to devotees who have not pre-booked time slots.
Groups carrying musical instruments or any form of amplification device will also not be allowed to enter.
The elderly, the young and those who are physically challenged are encouraged to pray at home, via a live streaming of the Thaipusam prayer session.
Only fully vaccinated devotees can participate on-site and enter the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. Those who are medically ineligible for jabs under the national vaccination programme can take part.
Those entering the temple will have to use the TraceTogether app or token to check in. No NRIC or other ID scanning will be available at the entry point.