A man watches a "kavadi" outside Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India, Singapore, on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. Thaipusam is a Hindu festival that commemorates the occasion when the goddess Parvati gave Lord Murugan a spear so he could vanquish a particularly vexing demon. Many people celebrate this victory by practicing mortification of the flesh, where they pierce their bodies with decorative spears symbolizing the divine "vel" Lord Murugan wielded. Some participants choose to demonstrate their faith by carrying a "kavadi," a semi-circular frame that sometimes is adorned with spikes that pierce into the devotee as they shoulder it the length of the procession. "Kavadi" literally means "sacrifice at every step" in Tamil.