When we were in Kilinochchi we witnessed an event that left me speechless (yes, it happens sometimes). We were filling up at the petrol station when I heard loud music coming from down the street. I left the car and saw three floats covered in garlands coming down the road with something suspended by a crane in front of each float. As it came closer, this is what I saw:
I was lost for words. The guy was suspended by eight hooks (two in his shoulders, two in the middle of his back, two in his thighs and two in his calves) from a crane that was being moved up and down by another man. You really need to trust the guy who controls the crane not to give it a jolt or it could all go horribly wrong. To top it off the guy also had a spoon pierced through both his cheeks.
This ritual is called a Kavadi. Devotees pray to the Hindu god, Lord Murugan for help to achieve something (like getting married or being cured from a disease) and in return they take on this physical sacrifice of being hooked and hung from a machine while they remain in a divine trance. I really hope their prayers get answered.