Thaipusam festival


Thaipusam festival

***** Location: India
***** Season: Winter
***** Category: Humanity


Thaipusam (Tamil: தைப்பூசம், Taippūcam ) is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). It is not only observed in countries where the Tamil community constitutes a majority, but also in countries where Tamil communities are smaller, such as Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore and Myanmar.

The word Thaipusam is a combination of the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Pusam. This particular star is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a Vel "spear" so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. There is a misconception among people that Thaipusam marks Murugan's birthday; however, it is believed that Vaikhasi Vishakam, which falls in the Vaikhasi month (May/June), is Murugan's birthday.

Murugan during Thaipusam.

Skanda (or Murugan) was created during one of the battles between the Asuras (or to be more specific Soorapadman) and the Devas. At one point, the latter were defeated several times by the former. The Devas were unable to resist the onslaught of the Asura forces. In despair, they approached Shiva and entreated to give them an able leader under whose heroic leadership they might obtain victory over the Asuras. They surrendered themselves completely and prayed to Shiva. Shiva granted their request by creating the mighty warrior, Skanda, out of his own power or Achintya Shakti. He at once assumed leadership of the celestial forces, inspired them and defeated the Asura forces and to recognize that day the people created the festival.

Kavadi Attam
is a dance performed by the devotees during the ceremonial worship of Murugan, the Tamil God of War. It is often performed during the festival of Thaipusam and emphasizes debt bondage. The Kavadi itself is a physical burden through which the devotees implore for help from the God Murugan.

Generally, Hindus take a vow to offer a kavadi to idol for the purpose of tiding over or averting a great calamity. For instance, if the devotee's son is laid up with a fatal disease, he would pray to Shanmuga to grant the boy a lease of life in return for which the devotee would take a vow to dedicate a kavadi to Him.

ThaiPusam in Malaysia
In Malaysia, the temple at Batu Caves, near Kuala Lumpur, often attracts over one million devotees and tens of thousands of tourists. The procession to the caves starts at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur in the heart of the city and proceeds for 15 kilometers to the caves, an 8-hour journey culminating in a flight of 272 steps to the top.
Thaipusam is also celebrated at Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple (Hilltop) along Jalan Waterfall in George Town, Penang.The chariot procession begins at 6am on Thaipusam eve callled " chetty pusam " . Where the chariot together with Chettiar kavadis -- male chettiar carry a peacock feather yoke accompanying the silver chariot -- (different from body-piercing type of kavadis) departs Kovil Veedu(House Temple) on Penang Street,Georgetown in the early morning here to late night,an 10 hours journey culminaing in flight of 513 steps to reach Hilltop temple.
New temple Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple consecration ceremony held on 26 june 2012. They retreat to the chettinar for three days before accompanying the chariot back to town, Penang. Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) reported that about more 500,000 devotess visit Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple(Hilltop)every year.Also celebrate at, the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Gunong Cheroh, Ipoh.
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Things found on the way


Thaipusam --
most shining star of the night
sheds light in my mind...

Shared by Brinda Buljore
Joys of Japan, 2013


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