The story of Thaipusam reaches deep back into legend, during the celestial Devas, battling with the demonic Asuras, appealed to Shiva for help. He and his wife Shakti then created their son, a mighty warrior called Lord Murugan who, armed with his divine “vel”, or spear, defeated the Asuras led by the evil Soorapadman. The day when the star is brightest, “Pusam”, during the Hindu month of Thai (which falls across January and February) marks Lord Murugan’s victory.
The festival’s fervour reaches its height with the gruesome impalings that defy medical science. After bathing in the river, the number of devotees who’s taking part in this ritual are drawn into a trance by the chanting of “Vel! Vel!” and the sacred attam dance. They are then will be ready to have the spears driven through their cheeks and tongue by the priests and their assistants. It is not for the faint-hearted. Not all the spikes are mere slivers and can easily be up to 4ft long, though not a drop of blood is spilt.
[Thaipusam on 7 Feb 2012]
[Entrance of Sri Subramaniar Temple]
[Devotess waiting for their turn to pray]
[My friend, Raimond and his dad, excited and enjoying watching the celebration]
The spectacle of Thaipusam is overwhelming enough. It celebrates nothing less than the triumph of good over evil.