When is Thaipusam?
Thaipusam is an annual Hindu festival, observed on the day of the full moon during the Tamil month of Thai.
It is a public holiday in the following regions of Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Penang, Selangor . If it falls on a Sunday, then the Monday is observed as a holiday in those regions, with the exception of Johor as that state observes its weekend on a Friday and Saturday.
It is also generally a public holiday in Mauritius and is known as Thaipoosam Cavadee.
Thaipusam is celebrated in honour of Lord Subramaniam, also known as Lord Murugan.
It occurs on the first full moon in January/February in the Tamil calendar.
To mark this day of penance and thanksgiving, Hindus pierce their body with metal skewers and carry pots of milk on their heads along a four kilometre procession.
Devotees prepare for the celebration by cleansing themselves through prayer, celibacy and fasting for 48 days before the festival.
The festival is rooted in Hindu legend and was brought from southern India by 19th century immigrants who came to the Malaysian peninsula to work in rubber estates and government offices. As a result, Hindus now comprise over eight percent of the 28 million Malaysian population.