Another month, another great southern Indian festival. This month, it was Thaipusam. Celebrated at the time in the month "thai" when the star "pusam" is at its highest point, the festival commemorates the Parvati's giving of a spear to Murugan so that he could defeat the demon Soorapadman. This is one of hundreds of stories from the Hindu Vedas which fill the calendar with a seemingly unending schedule of events and festivals but Thaipusam is one of the more vibrant festivals celebrated by the Tamil community in Singapore. Devotees march 4 kilometers from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India to Sri Thendayathupani Temple in River Valley. Most carry a kavadi, or burden of which Murugan will relieve them once they perform a ritual dance at the temple. For many, this burden is a simple milk pot, carried on the head. For others, the kavadi is a much more elaborate shrine like structure. For the most devoted, the kavadi is literally attached to their bodies by spikes and metal hooks. The body mutilation does not end there; many others have spikes and spears driven through their cheeks and tongues. After the madness of the fire walking festival a month or two ago, we were dreading the potential crowds out for this event, so we decided to approach via a "secret" road down the hill from Oxley Road, and near to the end of the procession. We chose wisely. At our spot, the crowds were thin and the views were perfect and the spectacle of this festival made for a very culturally rewarding afternoon. The boys didn't quite understand what they were seeing, but the colors and spikes kept them interested long enough for Ash and I to absorb the show of devotion occurring in front of us.