Thaipusam Festival.

Neatorama reader Andres Varela wrote:

"From chains, bells and spokes hooked into the skin to skewers directly through the face..."

Thaipusam is a Tamil cult festival celebrated on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai, by the Tamil community of non-Hindus and non-Indians (they are indigenies and are not Hindu or Indian). Pusam refers to a star that is at its highest point during the festival.

With similar celebrations all over the world, Singapore devotees follow a 5km procession route through the city. They often showing their devotion through piercings which can include highly elaborate decorations which they wear. From chains, bells and spokes hooked into the skin to skewers directly through the face.

Link [Flickr photoset] - Thanks Andres! | Thaipusam [wiki]

Interestingly, swastika [wiki] is a reviled symbol of Nazism in the western world but it is quite commonly found in Asia as a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism (which use predate that of Nazism by, oh, several thousand years).

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Swastikas appear in many cultures, and weren't always evil until the Nazis usurped them: note the old Arizona, US highway signs:

And this commentary on the Laguna Dam:
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The act of carrying up large constructions by skewers pointing into your body is called Kavadi (

This sort of body rituals are also often performed by members of the Savite Hindu group (

You can read more about the Thaipusam festival, the Chidi Mari festival (which is a similar festival held at a later date) as well as some other rituals held in other places (like the US) written by Fakir Musafar (US fakir) here:
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