Look away if you are squeamish, this one’s not for the faint hearted!
The Hindu festival of Thaipusam is about faith, endurance and penance. It’s a highly colourful, event which can stretch for 3 or 4 days and is in honour the Hindu God, Lord Murugan. On the day of the festival, devotees will cleanse themselves, shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route whilst carrying various types of kavadi (burdens) as an act of devotion to Murugan. At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but piercing of the flesh (mostly tongue or cheeks) with vel skewers or spears is also common.
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