Floating in the Air, Followed By the Wind

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Floating in the Air, Followed By the Wind

  • 1973 ----- color ----- 34 min ----- 16mm/vhs
  • Documents the Hindu religious festival, Thaipusam, celebrated each year near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Weeks before, devotees gather to prepare themselves spiritually and to construct the Kavadis, highly decorated shoulder poles they will carry at the festival to fulfill their vows. Some worshippers offer the sacrifice of piercing their bodies with long needles and hooks. Those who pierce their bodies do so in groups, led by a guru who is skilled in inducing entranced states. The ecstatic, hypnotic state brought on by rhythmic music, dance and expectation prevents the worshippers from experiencing pain. The trance is "like floating in the air, followed by the wind."
  • Topics: (Anthropology: Cultural, Austronesia, Religions: Eastern)