Documentary photo story by Johannes P Christo
Thaipusam is the biggest annual Hindu festival in Malaysia, celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai. Pusam refers to a star that is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates both the birthday of Lord Murugan, the youngest son of Shiva and Parvati, and the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (lance) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman.
The celebration is held in Batu Caves Temple, Kuala Lumpur. This ritual attended by millions of devotees from around Malaysia and some from abroad countries.
Devotees prepare for the celebration by cleansing themselves through prayer and fasting. On the day of the festival, devotees will shave their heads undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens).
Many of them believes when being possessed by the Lord of Murugan they feel painless of anything. They are obligated to present pots of fresh milk as special offerings for Lord Murugan, the milk later will be poured on the sacred spear of Lord Murugan.
All images © Johannes P.Christo