Thaipusam is an important festival celebrated by Tamil speaking Hindus all over the world. It is a popular festival in the southern part of India, especially in Tamilnadu. This anticipated festival is dedicated to Lord Murugan or Kartikeya, elder son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. In the modern days, this auspicious festival is not only celebrated in India and Sri Lanka; but it is celebrated by Tamil community in other countries (Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, Guadeloupe, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, and other parts of the Caribbean) and it is accepted by their localities also.
Thaipusam 2021 Date
In the year 2021, it would be observed on 28th January. The specialty about Thaipusam festival is the festivity exhibits a special kind of ritual performed by the local people of Tamil region. People pierce their body parts to impress the godhead on this day. This occurs on the full moon day during the Tamil month of Thai, as per Tamil calendar.
History and Legends: Thaipusam story of lord Murugan
According to Legends; When Devas were unable to resist demonic forces led by Tarakasur. They surrendered themselves completely and prayed to Lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva granted their request and asked his elder son Kartikeya to lead Devas in the war. Lord Murugan (Kartikeya) was an obliged son and a great warrior. He kept his father’s words and got blessings from his mother Goddess Parvati, who presented a lance to vanquish the demon army and combat their evil deeds. By heroic leadership and bravery, Lord Murugan defeated demon forces. Then he killed Tarakasur and his brothers Simhamukhan and Surapadman at Thiruchendur, Tamilnadu. Therefore, Thaipusam is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. Devotees pray to Lord of war and peace Murugan for his grace, so that they can face and destroy demonic forces or bad traits from the world.
Kavadi Attam: The Ceremonial self-sacrifice Dance
Kavadi Attam is a ceremonial self-sacrifice and offering by the devotees to please Lord Murugan. It is one of the major rituals in Thaipusam festival. Kavadi means burden; this ritual specifies that take all your burdens and difficulties by your own to the God; when you dedicated completely yourself to him, he will serve his grace upon you and all demonic forces with or against you will be destroyed. People who are willing to participate in Kavadi have to fast and pray regularly before approximately 48 days before Thaipusam. This is necessary as before facing to Lord of war Murugan, one should have cleansed from his/her soul. Normally devotees carry milk and water vessels(Kavadi) in the sacred journey to the God in the procession of Thaipusam festival. Many devotees show their complete dedication; when they pierce their body, tongue, and cheeks by metal screws. After piercing their body; devotees carry the Kavadi and travel approx four kilometers with barefoot to receive the blessings from the Lord Murugan.
The major attraction of the festival is climbing 280 steps to the sacred religious pilgrimage Batu Caves. Kavadis hold a specific ritual to follow throughout the festivity and pierce their body parts through pointed sharp equipment with needles-like hooks. They roam in the streets of the temple and beat drums for the celebrations throughout while reciting mantras and shloks. Million of admirers follow the processions of the gods carried out on decorated chariots. The fanatics with excessive and single-minded zeal serve this extreme religious festival in their unique way. This, being one of the vibrant and lively festivals in Tamil state, celebrated by other state residents and they especially pay visits to the temple which glorify this much-awaited occasion.
A mammoth dynamic celebration is witnessed the whole divine day of Thaipusam festival. The entire Tamil locals and inhabitants get involved in the euphoria of the Burden Dance- the Kavadi Attam by carrying the big pots of milk to offer to the deities in the temple. Even they drag heavy- weighted toboggan (a long, light, narrow vehicle) with the steel rods pierced on to their body parts.
The ceremony of Thaipusam is not only celebrated by Tamil community. Now in lots of countries; other societies widely accepted it. So countries this day is a national holiday also. It is not surprising that a regional festival of India is now celebrated widely in the world more than twenty countries. Every spiritualist should be part of Thaipusam procession once in lifetime to discover the warrior within. Happy Thaipusam to all.