Monday, February 9, 2009

Happy Thaipusam!

As I was searching for pictures of Thaipusam to share with you, I was most especially struck by Wazari's set from last year. The pictures above are just some of my favorites. Go check out the rest of the colors of Thaipusam as seen through the lens of Wazari. No wonder the dude is an Official Photographer for the government. His work is amazing!

Anyways, here are some facts about Thaipusam if you don't already know it (thanks Wikipedia!):
  • Thaipusam is also referred to as Thaipooyam or Thaippooyam in the Malayalam language
  • The festival commemorates both the birthday of Lord Murugan (also Subramaniam), the youngest son of Shiva and Parvati, and the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (lance) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman.
  • On the day of the festival, Hindu devotees from the Tamil community will shave their heads undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens). At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is also common.
  • The temple at Batu Caves, near Kuala Lumpur, often attracts over one million devotees and tens of thousands of tourists (apparently it's the largest Thaipusam celebration in the world!)
  • The procession to the caves starts at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur in the heart of the city and proceeds for 15 kilometers to the caves, an 8-hour journey culminating in a flight of 272 steps to the top. (whoah!)

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