Thaipusam is observed on the full moon day of the Tamil month Thai (Jan - Feb) to make offerings to Lord Muruga.
Divine help were sought, vows were made and fulfilled during this time. Many fanatical devotees go to such extent as to torture their bodies to appease the Lord. So, a major feature of Thaipusam celebrations is body piercing with hooks, skewers and small lances called 'vel'. Many of these devotees even pull chariots and heavy objects with hooks attached to their bodies. Many others pierce their tongue and cheek to impede speech and thereby attain full concentration on the Lord. Most devotees enter into a trance during such piercing due to the incessant drumming and chanting of "vel vel shakti vel."
Some will bear kavadis and walked/danced his way through a 4km journey from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road with family and friends celebrating around him. Traditional music were played during this journey of faith.
A kavadi is a cage-like structure carried by devotees during the Thaipusam Festival. It is traditionally decorated with peacock feathers and aluminium plates which show images of Hindu deities and can weigh up to 15 kg. Sharp spikes and chains are attached to the aluminium plates which are then pierced to the skin of the devotees.
Families will go on the journey together with children carrying milk pots and other burdens. Others play drums and small cymbals around the kavadi bearers.
Source: HEV, About.com