THE new normal is here to stay, as Covid-19 continues to sweep across the world, and has become an inescapable reality. Trying to celebrate large-scale festivities like the good old days is still beyond our reach.

Following the recent announcement of standard operating procedures (SOP) for Thaipusam, here’s a list of do’s and don’ts during the celebration.

DON’T

Gather in huge groups

With Omicron sweeping across the world at a rapid pace, it is important to avoid huge crowds. A Thaipusam Covid-19 cluster is the last thing that everyone needs.

It is vital to limit the spread of Covid-19 by safely celebrating Thaipusam and limiting the number of family members that you are looking to bring to the procession. For devotees who are fulfilling their vows during the celebration, remember to practice physical distancing!

Point cameras directly into the worshipers’ faces

Thaipusam celebrations often offer elements that are Insta-worthy. While any of these elements would make a good photograph, it is vital for photographers or amateurs to be respectful, and not point their cameras at the worshipers who are in deep prayer. Trying to capture pictures of their ‘personal moments’ is also not advisable.

Besides abiding by the SOPs, remember not to crowd or block the way of the worshippers.

Litter on temple grounds

In the spirit of Thaipusam, avoid littering at the temples. The reason being that littering in public places can further spread unwanted diseases.

For example, all the bacteria present in the rubbish can contaminate and affect one’s health. Besides that, it will also harm the environment, especially if it is made of plastic. Remember to make use of the waste bins and keep the temple grounds clean!

$!Be sure that you do not block the way of worshippers making their way to the temple. – SHUTTERSTOCK

DO

Check the opening hours

With the current situation, it is crucial to check the temples’ operating hours before you make a move, especially if being surrounded by a huge crowd isn’t at the top of your list.

It is important to plan carefully considering how cramming a large number of people in a small area can lead to the spread of the virus. During Thaipusam, the prayer time is usually shortened, as most of the Hindu temples here in Malaysia will be closed for a few hours.

The temples’ temporary closure is due to Hindus’ belief that the lunar eclipse is an unfortunate period as it is thought to block the sun and moon’s energies from reaching Earth.

Besides that, it is also a day for worshippers to purify and express remorse for their sins over the past year. Be sure to wear your mask, and make sure you’re fully vaccinated before attending!

Celebrate moderately

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to celebrate this joyous day moderately while adhering to the SOPs. Although it is tempting to gather with our loved ones and share our excitement with visitors from different cultures and races, our health and safety should always remain a priority.

At these times, being compassionate and concentrating on the good is one of the methods to enhance your celebration and happiness.

Thus, enjoy the celebration as much as you can despite the circumstances. It is good to take a moment and be appreciative of the small things and reflect on things that you can be grateful for.

Background check on the culture

For those who are looking to experience the Thaipusam celebration, be sure to do a background check.

Often, people tend to misjudge others’ cultures by asking unnecessary questions. It is never okay to denigrate those who worship God in a different way than you and laugh at their culture.

Hence, remember to read and avoid making judgements that could throw other people off.