TAGS: 201326-01-2013Archway MuruganFestivalHighgate HillLondonMuruganTempleThai Poosam

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A festival occurring in the Tamil month Thai (January – February), on the day of the star Poosam around Pournami (Full Moon) is celebrated as Thaipusam [Thai Poosam]. There are several legends about the festival Thaipusam. Here are a few of them There was a demon named Tharakasuran who gave a lot of trouble to the rishis and saints. Lord Muruga was called by his parents Lord Shiva and Parvati and given the job of destroying the Asuran. Lord Muruga set off with the blessings of his parents to destroy the demon. He took with him twelve weapons, eleven of which were given by his father Lord Shiva and the ‘Vel’ given by his mother Parvati. Lord Muruga destroyed Tharakasuran on the Poosam Nakshatra day in the Tamil month of Thai and hence Thai Poosam is celebrated in all Murugan temples.

Thai Poosam Kavady is a Hindu religious festival dedicated to Hindu deity Lord Murugan that is celebrated by Tamil people in South Africa not in India originated.

Kavady translates in Tamil language as a pole slung across the shoulder to evenly distribute the weight of whatever is being carried, usually in bundles on either ends of the pole. The carrying of kavady symbolizes the carrying of one’s burden and then resting it at the feet of the Lord.

Thai Poosam Kavady falls on the full moon day in the Tamil month Thai (January). The ten-day festival starts with hoisting of the flag. Daily rituals, abolitions and singing devotional hymns are held in honour of Lord Murugan. On the main day of the Kavady festival, devotees carry the Kavady from a distance away from the temple, preferable from a river, back to the temple. It is believed that the more effort and hardship applied when carrying the Kavady, the more benevolent Lord Murugan will be towards fulfilling his devotee’s needs. Devotees usually carry milk and honey on either end of their Kavadies. After entering the temple grounds the devotees carry their Kavadies three times around the temple. When they are inside the temple, the milk and honey are poured over the statue of Lord Murugan. The festival concludes with the de-hoisting of the flag.

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