This Monday, the 21st of January 2019, while some benefit from a day off, this day has a special meaning for others.
The hindu festival of Cavadee or Kavadi is celebrated amongst the tamil communities throughout the archipelago of the Mascareignes, a group of islands located in the South-West of the Indian Ocean.
The festival of Cavadee is celebrated several times throughout the year, but the most famous one is Thaipoosam Cavadee, which is celebrated in January or February.
Thaipoosam Cavadee is a solemn celebration of sacrifice and devotion, the purification of the heart and the soul, giving homage to the god Muruga who defeated the demons.
This celebration is the culmination of a 10 day long mental and spiritual preparation of the body and the mind, based on an intensive fast. This celebration also follows a very specific routine.
On the morning of the celebration of Cavadee, the faithful wishing to carry a kavadi (wooden structure decorated with flowers, leaves and fruit) are pierced with needles on certain parts of the body, such as the back, cheeks, or the tongue. Once this step is completed, they go to the river to take a ritual bath in fornt of a priest in order to purify their bodies.
Then begins a parade through the streets of the villages, where the faithful carry offerings to the sacred temple, accompanied by musicians and dancers.
To see the faithful with their piercings, some of them drawing their kavadis attached to the needles and hooks on their pierced back behind them, is an imperssive sight for most spectators.
Not recommended for sensitive viewers.