Thaipusam

I would have never imagined when I moved here, that I'd see a guy like this in Kuala Lumpur:
 But he was a common sight at the Thaipusam festival I went to last Thursday.
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival (this year it took place on the 20th of January, every year it takes place when a certain star is at its highest point in the sky).
 Here are some basics on it, compliments of Wikipedia
"The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (spear) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman." 
 And a bit more:
"On the day of the festival, devotees will shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens). At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is also common."
Not sure this is the sort of stuff I'll be adding to my picture books anytime soon.
But the colors and the sounds and the movement -- whew!



 I didn't get a very good picture of what's happening below, there was a guy smoking 2 cigars walking on glass. His helpers would pick up the platter of shards behind him and move it in front of him for each step he took.

 Lots of devotees shave their heads for Thaipusam:
 There's a free vegetarian meal served on sight by volunteers too.
Right after I left the festival, I went home to my son and took him to the aquarium where we looked at sharks and turtles. Umm... Those two experiences were a bit of an overload as far as contrast for the senses.
I have to say, It was a crazy day!