தை பூசம் (Thai Pusam) is an important Hindu festival mainly celebrated in Tamil Nadu and Kerala during the Tamil month of Thai (January – February). It is also referred to as Thaipooyam in Malayalam language. But if you think these photos belong to one of these states of India then you are wrong !
Outside India, the festival is celebrated mainly by the Tamil speaking community settled in Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka and many more countries around the world. But I never knew this festival is popular in Mauritius as well !
Thai pusam is dedicated to the Hindu god Murugan, the son of Shiva and Parvati and is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. It usually takes place in a temple.
On the Thaipusam day, most devotees of Lord Murugan adorn dresses of yellow or orange colour and offer him fruits and flowers of the same colour. It is said to be Lord’s favorite color.
I am not telling you the whole story about it because I myself do not know. 😛
In short, the devotees vow to dedicate a Kavadi to the Lord in return for a favour. They perform various acts of devotion such as walking over burning coals.
Many fanatical ones go to an extent to torture their bodies to appease the Lord. So, a major feature of Thaipusam celebrations is body piercing with hooks, skewers and small lances called ‘vel’. Many of these devotees even pull chariots and heavy objects with hooks attached to their bodies.