Anybody, who thinks that Singapore is a boring country with nothing "unusual" to
offer should visit it during the Tamil festival of Thaipusam. Being held on the full
moon day of the Tamil month Thai, it is by far the most extraordinary spectacle I
have ever seen, an age-old spiritual ceremony that defies rational explanation.
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival honoring the god Murugan, who in Hindu mythology
also appears under many other names - Karttikeya, Skanda, Subramaniam,
Thandayuthapani, Kathiresan and Kataragama, to name but a few.
During Thaipusam, Murugan's followers go into trances, induced through prayer or
pure willpower. During these trances, they perform incredible penances, seemingly
stretching the boundaries of endurance and pain. Some devotees the "beginners" so
to say - only push skewers or needles through their tongues and cheeks.
The "superiors" poke hooks into the flesh of their backs; the hooks are attached to ropes,
and these are fastened to little ceremonial carts. Thus, the carts are pulled through
The most respected achievement though, is the wearing of a kavadi. These are big
metallic frames, which can weigh up to 30 Kg.
This series want to document the faith and the pain a human being can
support when they truly believe an live for something.