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Thai Pussam
February 1999
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This is a very strange procession of pain and self torture. 
A personal sacrifice is made to win favour from the Gods or to offer thanks.
The procession starts at 2am and continues to midnight. 
Each participant walks the two mile trek from the top of little India to the main temple near China Town. There are hundreds (possibly thousands) or people who do this because throughout the day the route was full of people.




Most of these guys had a skewer through their tongue and another right through their face. All ornaments hung from their body and held by hooks digging into the flesh. 

Many of the men had their bodies covered with some sort of powder which we believe to be some kind of anesthetic or possibly antiseptic. 

Everyone seemed to carry something. This pot (we think it's filled with coconut milk) was a popular item. The two others will appear further below/




We arrived at the procession at 7am thinking that most Pussamers would choose to make their pilgrimage during the cooler hours of the day. But as the day wore on, there were more and more people streaming out of the temple to make the trek.







This was the second most popular "cross to bear" so to speak. It's an odd contraption which has been designed specifically to cause pain and discomfort for such a pilgrimage. 

A bunch of ornaments (usually feathers and colourful pom poms) are held above the head on a heavy frame attached to a harness worn on the waist.




A number of chains leading from the frame are attached to the bearers bods by hooks. As he walks, the chains tweak at the skin as the whole contraption has a slightly springy quality. 

It's madness.