Hindu devotee during Thaipusam

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai – which means ‘tenth’ – when the moon is full. Dedicated to Lord Subramaniam, also known as Lord Murugan, the deity of youth, power and virtue, this festival is a time for repentance for devotees as celebrations are carried out mainly at the temple. The photo of the Hindu devotee is incorrectly labelled a “Indian human god”. Devotees prepare themselves spiritually with extensive prayers and fasting before performing acts of penance or thanksgiving, such as carrying a kavadi (an object symbolising sacrifice) from one temple to another, where devotees pierce their tongues, cheeks and bodies with sharp skewers as a practice of self-mortification.