Thaipusam – On the night of a full moon, yearly, a huge gathering occurs at Batu Caves and several locations in the world to celebrate Lord Murugan, a Hindhu deity, receiving a spear to defeat an evil demon and his army.
On this days, devotees perform various acts to show their devotion and faith; some bear the Kavadi (which is a physical burden) with or without sharp needles (or vels as it is known) or hooks piercing their skin. Some bear less physically punishing Kavadi such as a pot of milk and in some cases, a bowl with a burning fire within.
The preparations for bearing a Kavadi starts 48 days before Thaipusam itself and in that period, the bearers undergo a strict regiment that includes a strict diet, prayers and abstinence. With that, they enter a trance on Thaipusam. This trance enables the devotees to endure and not bleed or feel any pain on the wounds suffered when the vels pierce their skin.