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Devotees prepare for the celebration of Thaipusam by cleansing themselves through prayer and fasting approx-48 days before Thaipusam. On the day of the festival, devotees will 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 this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is also common..

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