Today is the beginning of Thaipusam, a Hindu festival where devotees practice fasting, sexual abstinence, and physical bondage. Swipe right for more pics from this incredible event.
The celebration is observed by Tamil people in Southern India, Malaysia, Singapore, and as far away as Jamaica.
Thaipusam is a 3-day Hindu festival celebrated during the full moon of the 10th month in the Hindu calendar. This is normally during lte January or early February. Thaipusam is a combination of the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Pusam, which is at its highest point during the festival.
Thaipusam commemorates the occasion when Parvati (the Hindu goddess of fertility, love, devotion, divine strength and power) gave Murugan (the universal granter of wishes) a spear so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. Thaipusam devotees pray to Murugan to receive his grace and favours and to make penance.
I just happened to be in Malaysia during Thaipusam last year and attended three days of festivals and friends I met there now expect me to attend every year. Fingers crossed for 2020!