Devotees during Thaipusam prepare for the celebration by cleansing themselves through 48-day prayer and fasting prior to Thaipusam.
Kavadi-bearers normally perform elaborate ceremonies at the time of carrying the kavadi and making an offering it to Murugan.
The kavadi-bearer observes celibacy and consume vegetarian food, once a day, while continuously delving in the spiritual realm.
On the day of the festival, devotees shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens).
At its simplest a kavadi may entail carrying a pot of milk, but piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is commonly observed as well.
This year’s Thaipusam celebration at the Arulmigu Thandayuthapani Temple in Johor Bahru saw various double sacrifices including blood donations alongside the helping and feeding of the poor.