If you’ve ever heard of the Batu Caves, then you will know that it is famous for a couple of things.. Monkeys, Limestone outcrop, 272 steps to a temple cave, a Golden statue of Lord Shiva’s son, Muruga, and finally the location where the festival of Thaipusam is celebrated.
This famous Hindu festival in Malaysia might be scary for some.. with lots of grotesque body piercings, and folks who look like they are suffering incredible pain.. The incredibly extravagant kavadi’s and the bearers of the burden, subject themselves to masochistic acts, as a way to say thank you to the gods for answered prayers. It doesn’t help when they tell you, only the truly faithful should attempt the ritual – many suffer skin lacerations and worse outcome during the festival of Thaipusam. To me, I think it is commendable that these folks really mean business, and bother to remember to thank God for their blessings and answered prayers. How many of us, even remember to thank God at all, for the good things in our lives? Not many…
And if you don’t have a strong stomach, you might faint from the sight of milk pots connected to skin by hooks. Or the kavadi – great cages of spikes that pierce the skin of the bearer and are decorated with pictures of deities and flowers. Some even pierce their tongues and cheeks with hooks and sharp skewers. Apparently there is no pain. The kavadi carriers look like as though they are in a trance.. later the wounds are treated with lemon juice and holy ash to prevent scarring.
Wishing all our Hindu friends and readers, a blessed Thaipusam Day!
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