Thaipusam is a festival celebrated during the full moon during the month of Thai in the Tamil calendar. The word ‘Thaipusam’ itself is a combination of the words ‘thai’ and ‘pusam;. Thai is a month in the tamil calendar and ‘pusam’ is a name of a star. The star pusam is at its highest point during this festival.
In Malaysia, many Tamils celebrate Thaipusam by going to Batu Caves which is located just outside from Kuala Lumpur. There, devotees take part in religious rites such as kavadi attam or the “burden dance”. Kavadi is a physical burden, ranging from carrying a pot of milk to mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin with vel skewers. It is offered by devotees during worship to implore for help from Murugan, the Hindu god of war.