Piercings and Pot Carrying for Lord Murugan in Thaipusam festival.
Are you ready to honour Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war and fertility? If so you have probably been on a vegetarian diet and abstaining from sex for over a month, in preparation for Thaipusam. The Thaipusam festival follows the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai, which this year will be celebrated tomorrow on January 20th. Many people in Malaysia attribute conceiving children or surviving serious illness or accident to this god. The bigger the request that was answered, the bigger the ritual offering must be. On the day of the festival many followers will pierce their bodies with hooks carrying fruit and trek to temples, where the piercing will be removed and the debt is paid. Others carry their newly conceived babies to the temple for blessing and others carry pots of milk or wooden floats on their head. Some also shave their heads and smear sandalwood all over their bodies. In Malaysia the prime minister is attending the celebrations, which are expected to draw a crowd of 200,000. It all makes Sunday Service, or Mass, look a bit dull.