Each January or February Indians of Tamil origin parade through the streets with their tongues and cheeks pierced with spears or skewers in the devout and spectacular annual festival, Thaipoosam Cavadee. As a vow of devotion, or as penitence, participants also hang needles and hooks from their chests and backs, and carry a “cavadee” (burden) on their shoulders, typically a carved wooden canopy decorated with flowers, fruits and photographs of saints, with a pot of purifying milk hung from each end. Despite the heat at this time of year, the milk must not be curdled when it arrives at the temple to be offered to Lord Muruga, the main Tamil god. Throngs of women and children accompany the men, dressed in bright pink and also bearing pots of milk. If any blood is spilled during the piercing, or the milk is sour, it means that the ten days of fasting, celibacy and prayers have not been done properly. Cavadee can be seen at temples island-wide, though the best place to see it is at Port Louis’ Kaylasson temple.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Mauritius features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Ten perfect birdwatching trips

Ten perfect birdwatching trips

Few travel moments illicit such a thrill as catching sight of a rare or beautiful bird emerging from its natural habitat. Here are a few of our favourite birdwa…

29 Apr 2013 • Site Editor insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs