These images contained some gruesome scenes and could be a little overwhelming if you have a weak stomach. There are some video footage towards the end of this gallery.
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by Tamil community on the full moon somewhere in Jan/Feb. The festival commemorates the birthday of lord Murugan (the Tamil god of war). It is a sacred occasion to carry out acts of penance in fulfillment of vows made to the deity.
Every devotee wishing for something takes a vow to participate in the Thaipusam for one, three, five or even seven years in succession if his or her wish has been granted. Not honoring this vow is considered bad luck. Many devotees also participate because they want to repent for past sins. Devotees will shave their heads to undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadis (burdens). At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but piercing of the skin, tongue or cheeks with skewers has become rampant and fashionable.Some of them will go into a trance during the piercing stage. Here in Singapore, devotees carrying the kavadis walked a distance of 4km from one temple to another.
For those carrying the Vel Kavadi (essentially a portable altar up to 2 meters tall), a total of 108 spikes pierce through various parts of the body. It also appears the more elaborated the kavadi, the more resolute is one’s devotion. Some devotees, however, choose to believe that the only way to salvation is to endure a penance of pain and hardship. The greater the pain the more god-earned merit. This is a quaint evolution of the celebrations down the years. It’s origins are lost in antiquity and the celebrations are mostly adorned with festive extravaganzas.
david-lowon April 17, 2010
Thank for dropping by. Amen.
Markon April 16, 2010
How sad that people abuse the temple while trying to worship false gods in their proud idolatry.
If only they knew the freedom and "peace that transcends all understanding" available to them, if they would simply repent and trust in Jesus.
There is only one name under heaven and earth by which man can be saved.
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