Forehead pin

This fish hook, attached with 'vel-shaped' pins, is pierced around a devotee's forehead during 'Thaipusam', a Hindu festival celebrated by the Tamil community in the month of 'Thai' (January-February) and the day of the star, 'Pusam' around ‘Pournami’ (full moon). The festival commemorates the birthday of Lord Murugan (also Subramaniam), 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. On the day of the festival, the devotee may carry a kavadi, a semi-circular decorated canopy supported by a wooden rod that is carried on the shoulders, to the temple carrying two pots of milk. Devotees also may pierce their skin, tongue or cheeks with vel.