Villagers in the Betul district of Madhya Pradesh participated in an annual tradition of body piercing on the occasion of 'Hanuman Jayanti', which they believe helps cure chicken pox.
The villagers pierced thread on the Chaitra Poornima, which is observed on the full moon day in the month of Chaitra as per the Hindu calendar, which usually falls in late March or early April.
"The thread is pierced inside the body while hymns are sung. Four men stand in front and four at the back. The god gives power so no pain is felt," said Roop Rao, a villager.
Bare-bodied men danced to mark the ritual in the presence of elderly members of the village.
"This is an old tradition followed by our ancestors. This is followed to cure all kinds of diseases mainly chicken pox. There are elders in the village with marks of chicken pox on their face in this village and so that can be cured," said another villager, Devdas.
Chicken pox is caused by infection with Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV), which results in skin blisters. In 2013, the disease resulted in the death of a reported 7,000 people globally.
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