- Title: MALAYSIA: RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL OF THAIPUSAM CHARACTERISED BY BODY PIERCING
- Date: 4th February 1996
- Summary: SELANGOR, MALAYSIA (FEBRUARY 4, 1996) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) 1. SV BATU CAVES AT DAYBREAK 0.04 2. SV TEMPLE IN LIMESTONE HILL 0.06 3. SV DEVOTEES CLEANSE THEMSELVES 0.09 4. SV MALE DEVOTEE GOING INTO TRANCE 0.11 5. SV GIRL BEING PREPARED TO CARRY KAVADI 0.15 6. SV DEVOTEE PERFORMING "POOJA" PRAYER 0.25 7. SV CROWD BY RIVERSIDE 0.39 8. SV TEMPLE PRIEST LEADS BLESSING OF SILVER SPEARS 0.43 9. CU DEVOTEE HAVING TONGUE PIERCED 0.56 10. SCU DEVOTEE WITH LONG SPEAR THROUGH CHEEKS 1.00 11. SV DEVOTEES IN PROCESSION 1.13 12. SV MALE DEVOTEE CARRYING ELABORATE KAVADI 1.16 13. SV DEVOTEE WITH HOOKS IN BACK PULLING KAVADI 1.31 14. SV CROWD WATCHING PROCESSION 1.35 15. SV FOREIGNERS AMONG CROWD 1.38 16. SV BATU CAVES LIMESTONE HILLS AND DEVOTEES ON STEPS LEADING TO CAVES 1.53 17. SV DEVOTEES CLIMBING STEPS 1.59 18. SV MASSIVE CROWD AT FOOT OF STEPS 2.02 19. SCU BELGIAN TOURIST (WITH WIFE) SAYING "VERY BEAUTIFUL, VERY NICE" (ENGLISH) 2.04 20. SCU JENS BEHNE (GERMAN) (WITH WIFE) SAYING "I CAN'T BELIEVE IT, WHEN I SAW IT I JUST HURT A LITTLE BIT. I COULDN'T SEE IT, SOMETIMES I COULD NOT IMAGINE WHAT THE PEOPLE WERE DOING, BUT IT'S GREAT, IT'S REALLY GREAT I THINK" (ENGLISH) 2.17 21. SV CROWD WALKING UP STEPS TO CAVE 2.20 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Reuters ID: LVAA2UHUUU9EY7ZT65Z6WZOVBI26
- Location: BATU CAVES, SELANGOR, MALAYSIA
- Country: Malaysia
- Duration: 00:02:23
- Story Text: Malaysia, a country where Islam is the official religion, is also home to Thaipusam, a centuries old Hindu tradition that is as much a religious festival as it is a bizarre attraction in which participants pierce their bodies with a range of sharp instruments.
As tourists look on, devotees appear to self-mutilate their bodies with hooks, skewers and even spears, claiming that they feel no pain and bear no scars.
This year, more than one and a half million people are believed to have attended and taken part in Thaipusam celebrations held in temples throughout the country on Sunday (February 4).
One of the main venues for Thaipusam celebrations in Malaysia is Batu (Stone) Caves. This limestone outcrop, just outside the capital, Kuala Lumpur, houses a temple that can only be reached by climbing 272 steps.
Long before dawn, the faithful and the curious gather at the foot of the caves.
For the devotees, Thaipusam is a time to fulfill vows made in return for prayers answered. These vows made, to the Hindu god "Murugan," are in the form of a penance, or "Kavadi." Preparations involve a rigorous regimen of spirituality and self sacrifice. This includes a dawn to dusk fast, a vegetarian diet, no alcohol, no smoking, no angry words, and no sex for the month leading up to the celebration.
But it is the bizarre nature of the body piercing, which fulfills the vows and acts of penance, which makes Thaipusam such a fascinating spectacle to onlookers from around the world.
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