What strikes your mind first when you think of Thai Poosam? Uncontrollable crowd, enthralling Kavadis, Milk pots and Pathayathira right. Obviously these are the prominent features of Thaipusam, but more of it, many of us are unaware of the substantial significance of this festival. Thaipusam or Thaipoosam is one of the major festivals which is celebrated mostly by the Tamil People all around the globe.
In this blog, you may get to know some of the rare and interesting facts about Thaipoosam, Lord Muruga, festival dates and some of the best places to visit during Thaipusam.
Lord Muruga “ The Tamil God”
Lord Murugan is one of the most celebrated Gods in South India and in overseas countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. The image of pleasing Bala Murugan, carrying a sublime smile and highlighted verse “Yam Iruka Bayamen” (Why fear when I’m here”) is just enough to overcome any hurdles in life. “Muruganuku Arohara” is not just a word it’s an emotion for millions of people not only in Tamilnadu but across the globe. Lord Murugan known by innumerable names like Karthikeyan, Murugan, Kanthan, Velayutham, Dhandayuthapani, Shanmugan, Kumaran, Kathirvelan, Malaiyandi, Balan, and Subramaniyan, was worshipped by the Tamil people from the time immemorial.
Facts may be overwhelming as you come across this, but it’s true that Lord Muruga is been worshipped by millions of Buddhists in China, Japan, Tibet, and Bhutan every day. This Tamil Lord has reached overseas and been worshipped by the followers of Buddhism in the name of Wei Tuo Pu Sa. This Wei Tuo Pu Sa is none other than the Lord Muruga whose fame had spread overseas many thousand years ago by our ancestors and by Lord Buddha himself. Buddha who evolved as the almighty had worshiped Lord Muruga in his earlier days and practiced the same once he started his divine journey to countries like China and Japan to spread his religion. Even today every Buddha temple, has a small shrine for Wei Tuo Pu Sa at the entrance and millions of devotees worship the lord knowingly and unknowingly.
The Saga Of This Festive:
Thai Poosam is a ceremony of celebrating the victory of Lord Muruga over the vicious Soorapadman. The name itself is an amalgamation of two words Thai signifies the Tamil month of celebration Thai (January- February) and Poosam denotes the brightest star of the month. The legend has it that this is the very day on which Goddess Parvati endow Lord Muruga with the incredible Spear (Vel) to annihilate the Soorapadman’s tyranny. Though some argue that Thai Poosam is the day of Lord Muruga’s birth, it’s still in commotion. Be it any legend, Thaipoosam is a day for Lord Muruga and the right day to see his frenetic arduous devotees from across the globe.
Place And Date Of Celebration:
Thaipoosam is commemorated throughout the world wherever there is a sacred abode for Lord Murugan and a significant presence of the Tamil community. The major places where Thaipoosam is taken to another level are Tamilnadu, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Mauritius, USA, Canada and South Africa.
Even this day is announced as a national holiday in countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius. Thai Poosam is revered to a great extent that, the eve of Thaipoosm is declared as a national holiday in countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Fiji and Mauritius.
When Thaipoosam/Thaipusam Festival is Celebrated
Even a week prior to this ceremony all the famous temples of Lord Muruga will be found packed with devotees from all over the globe. This year Thaipoosam is commemorated on 08.02.2020. Following are dates of Thaipoosam in the upcoming years.
- 2020 – 08th February, Saturday
- 2021 – 28th January, Thursday
- 2022 – 18th January, Tuesday
- 2023 – 05th February, Sunday
- 2024 – 25th January, Thursday
- 2025 – 11th February, Tuesday
Celebration Of Thaipoosam In Tamilnadu And Other Countries
Be prepared for something unusual and enthralling when visiting Murugan shrines on Thaipusam/Thaipoosam ardent devotees undergo many vigorous sacrifices and offerings to Lord Muruga. From Kavadis to body piercing you may witness the most arduous and unbelievable sacrifices by the devotees.
Kavadis, literally “sacrifice at every step”, is bow like structure adorned with peacock feathers, glassworks, and many more ornamental things, which is carried by the devotees on shoulder throughout their Path Pilgrimage (Pathayathirai) to the temple.
Some Kavadis can weigh up to 35 kgs and some Pilgrimage may last for about a week. This offering needs lots of will power and devotion, not all can take Kavadi to Lord Muruga, only the ones who are destined for this can take Kavadi. More than any other offering Kavadi is considered to be the most auspicious and painstaking offering done to Lord Muruga. There are many types of Kavadis, Pookavadi, Vel Kavadi, Paravaikavadi, and many more.
Piercing the body parts is yet another frenetic offering done by the devotees as a gratitude for their answered prayers. Devotees pierce the sharp vel, in various parts of their bodies. In some cases hooks are pierced to the back of the devotees, some pierce the whole Kavadi to their body and some will get their cheeks pierced.
But none of these devotees or volunteers doing this would be seen tired or distressed. These tough sacrifices are done just not to please lord Muruga or make their prayers answered; but to show that, these sharp spears will do nothing when their tongue utters the word “Vel Vel Muruga, Vetri Vel Muruga”.
Thaipoosam is also known for fasting. Many devotees will prepare themselves for 48 days prior to the Thaipoosam, consuming only vegetarian foods and leading a disciplined life. Milk pitcher procession is yet another devotional practice on Thaipoosam. Women and men dressed up in bright yellow attires will carry Milk pitchers from their native place and offer it lord Muruga all be a walk.
Places To Visit During Thaipoosam:
Though Thaipoosam is commemorated in all Murugan shrines in South India and Overseas, some places and shrines are very popular to witness the grand procession of the devotees and offerings accompanied by fervor of drums and loud music.
Following are some of the prominent and famous murugan temples in South India to be on the eve of Thaipoosam are Palani Dhandayuthapani temple, Thiruparankundram, Subramaniya Swami Temple Thiruthani, Vadapalani Andavar Temple, Chennai; Vayalur Murugan temple, Trichy; Swamimalai Murugan Temple, Kumbakonam; Pazhamuthircholai Murugan Temple, Madurai; Thiruchendoor Subramaniya Swami Temple, Sikkal Singara Velar Temple, Nagapattinam; Sree Subramaniya swami temple, Haripad, Alappuzha; Poombarai Kuzhanthai Velappar Temple, Kodaikanal; Kundrathur Murugan Temple, Kanchipuram; Maruthamalai Murugan Temple, Coimbatore; Ettukudi Murugan temple, Thiruvarur; Kalugumalai Murugan temple, Thoothukudi and Sree Subramanya Swami Temple, Perunna, Changanasserry.
Batu cave Murugan Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Sri Srinivasa Temple, Singapore; Sri Thendayuthapani temple, Singapore; Malaysia island of Penang; Medan in North Sumathra, Colombo in Srilanka; Kataragama temple in Srilanka; Sri Murugan Temple, Manor Park, London, England; are all some of the notable and prominent Lord Murugan Temples other than India.
Thaipoosam is one among the few festivals that brings out the perseverance, determination and dedication of the humans race. Many may shun away these offerings as act of cruelty but it is to declare the world that bodily flesh are mortal, while the immortal ones are our soul and the omnipresent Almighty. The body we possess, the sight we behold, the speech we speak and the wealth we amass is all bestowed upon us by the Almighty; on this day of Thaipoosam, we are destined to pay our gratitude towards our creator and offer him what he have blessed us with.
Every devotee with pierced skewers are revered and honored, what they are doing is not for attraction or showcase, it is purely sacred and devotional. If you happen to see them respect them not point horrified.
So it’s time to plan for Thaipoosam; pick your desired destination. Make a trip with South Tourism and get indulged in the frenetic harmony of the Devotees, as ceaseless the chants “Vel Vel Vel” throbs in the air.
Miss not the Aurpadai (six army camps) of Lord Muruga in Tamilnadu for this Thaipoosam.
Mark your calendar now and plan a trip to South India to witness the grand festival.
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