Devotees flock to Pangkor Sri Pathira Kaliamman Temple for Maasi Magam festival


LUMUT: Within our culturally diverse society, we are fortunate to experience a variety of unique traditions and celebrations, each contributing to the rich tapestry of our collective heritage.

One such captivating celebration is 'Maasi Magam,' a cherished observance within the Hindu community, held between February and March, where devotees seek blessings from the deity believed to safeguard the seas.

According to Hindu tradition, Maasi signifies a month in the Tamil calendar, while Magam represents one of the celestial stars in the intricate Hindu astrology system.

The Sri Pathira Kaliamman Temple in Sungai Pinang Besar, Pulau Pangkor, near here, is a focal point for Hindu devotees during the Maasi Magam festival.

Checks by Bernama saw worshippers flock to the temple gates as early as 4am, where amidst the tranquil ambience of the temple grounds, a timeless ritual unfolds - the ceremonial bathing of the goddess with offerings of seawater, fragrant roses, milk and turmeric water.

According to the temple chairman J. Mohana Dass, 46, what sets this celebration apart is the tradition of selecting a devotee to act as a 'representative' during the festival and the chosen individual carries the sacred "Sakhti Karagam," a copper vessel filled with symbolic offerings, symbolising the conveyance of devotees' requests to the goddess.

He elaborated that the vessel, filled with water and lime, is carried from Pasir Broga at 4pm and is transported to the temple, a journey that concludes at 1am.

Hindu devotees flock to Pulau Pangkor not only to witness the grandeur of the kavadi but also to connect intimately with the vessel, each harbouring their heartfelt wishes.

"The person entrusted with carrying the vessel is a local and as the day breaks, preparations begin in earnest, with the ceremonial sea bath for the goddess taking place as early as 4am,” he told Bernama when met at the temple on Saturday (Feb 24).

Mohana Dass said that a common vow made by attendees is to seek blessings for the gift of a child, highlighting the deeply personal nature of the requests made during this sacred occasion.

Elaborating on the poignant rituals that mark the Maasi Magam festival, he said about 30 minutes before the ceremonial bathing of the goddess unfolds at the temple, devotees anticipate the radiant light that will illuminate the goddess' face directly.

As the sun ascends, around 6am, devotees come forward with offerings of milk to bathe the goddess in the temple's sea area, symbolising a deeply intimate connection with the divine.

In Mohana Dass' words, while Thaipusam reveres Lord Murugan, Maasi Magam is devoted to seeking the blessings of Goddess Kaliamman, the revered mother of Lord Murugan.

The allure of the festival extends far beyond the local community, drawing visitors from abroad, including Brunei, Singapore, India and Indonesia, who converge on the temple annually to partake in the festivities and seek spiritual fulfilment.

This year, the Maasi Magam on Pulau Pangkor was celebrated on Feb 23 and 24, attracting an impressive turnout of over 60,000 devotees. - Bernama

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