Hundreds of Hindus of Tamil origin recently celebrated the annual Festival of Penance (Taipusam) in Singapore.
GV Hindu devotee carrying Kavadis
MV Man with needles attached to body (2 shots)
MV Man with needle through his mouth (2 shots)
GV Men with hooks attached to body (3 shots)
MV Man with long needle through mouth
MV Child with decoration
GV & MV Procession through street (6 shots)
Initials BB/1710 DH & NC/TK/BB/1725
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Background: Hundreds of Hindus of Tamil origin recently celebrated the annual Festival of Penance (Taipusam) in Singapore. The festival marks the birthday of the Tamil lord Subramaniam.
In an act of penance devotees of the religion carry ornaments or kavadis on hooks, needles and skewers which are stuck into their bodies. The men do not appear to feel any pain as relatives and assistants insert the hooks and skewers into various parts of their backs, cheeks and tongues.
Although it is not a public holiday in Singapore, a huge crowd gathered at the Parumal Temple on the outskirts of the city to watch the festival.
After the participants have received their ornaments they begin, as if in a trance, the four mile (6.5 km) walk in procession to the Chettiar Temple on the other side of the city.
The procession ends when the men dismantle their kavadis in front of the temple altar.