Friday, February 10, 2017

The Hindu festival Thai Pusam



Vel Muruga..Image credit: By
Phalinn Ooi CC-BY via flickr  
Have you thought that Thai Pusam is the birthday of Lord Muruga like me? No, it is not the birthday of Sri Muruga. It is the special occasion during which Parvati gave Muruga a spear(vel) to vanquish an Asura (demon). That is why the song ‘Vel vel vel vel vel Muruga vel’ is sung on the day of Thai Pusam that falls on the full moon day of Tamil month ‘Thai’.
Skandapuranam and Thirupugal of Tamil literature state that Sri Muruga is the light of Lord Shiva. He is venerated as the god of wisdom. Thai Pusam festival is celebrated to get rid of the bad traits one has by praying to Sri Muruga.
Kaavadi Attam is the main ritual associated with this festival. Kaavadi is a semi-circled structure supported by a wooden rod to carry. It gets decorated with artificial colorful flowers thickly packed. Devotees carry it on their shoulders and perform a dance rhythmic to the Pandi Melam (regional drum beat). It is believed that one can implore Sri Muruga for cleansing the sins by carrying a kaavadi.
Kaavadi aattam in Palani temple of Tamil Nadu is very famous and it is estimated that about 10,000 kaavadis reach the temple on Thai Pusam day. Today is Thai Pusam that reminds me of Mannam Sri Subrahmania Swamy temple of my native place.

Thai Pusam festival celebrations abroad

Muruga temple....Image credit: By Andy Nobes CC-BY via flickr
In Malaysia, Singapore and Mauritius, Thai Pusam is a big festival celebrated by the Tamil communities. There are temples of Sri Muruga in these places and devotees join the procession of Kavadi Attam (dance) to gratify the Lord.
In the temple of Batu caves in Malaysia, the Kavadi procession starts from the main city and millions of devotees and tourists are attracted to it. Devotees carrying pots of milk or bearing kavadis decorated with flowers reach the caves after 8 hours of journey. Then they climb up numerous steps to reach Sri Muruga to seek his blessings.
In George Town, Penang also, Thai Pusam festival is celebrated with big zest. Sri Dandayudhapani temple in Singapore also gets crowded by the devotees carrying milk and kaavadis. 

It becomes evident that Thai Pusam is a raving festival of Tamil folks who may not forget to celebrate it even when they are far away from their homeland.  

Related hub:Hindu festival Kalpathy Ratholsavam in Palakkad, Kerala   

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