Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Thaipusam, an important Hindu festival of Tamil Nadu

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Lord Muruga and consorts Valli and Devannai. DivineInfoGuru.com
In India, the unique feature about the Hinduism is that almost in every month there will be a festival or two and such festivals are part of Indian culture and heritage and they have some relevance with changing seasons, geography or religious practises. The festival of Thaipoosam is native to   Tamil Nadu. 

Thaipusam or Thaipoosam  is an important festival of the Tamil community in India and also abroad . It falls on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). Thaipoosam is observed by the ethnic Tamil community living in such countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore and other countries, parts of the Caribbean  etc. In many of these countries, it is a national holiday.

The word Thaipusam is a combination of the Tamil month Thai, and the relevant  star, Pusam; the latter being  at its peak in this period. The reason why this Hindu religious festival assumes much importance is  it  marks the day  when Goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva   blessed  God Murugan (Subramaniam or Kathic) with a Vel "spear"  with which he had to conquer / vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. Besides, the traditional belief has been that Thaipusam is Murugan's birthday; That  Vaikhasi Vishakam, which falls in the Vaikhasi month (May/June), is Murugan's birthday is yet another version prevailing in the purana.


The legend has been that there was a revelry between two forces - Asuras (demons) led by demon leader Soorapadman on one side and Devas (celestial). In the relentless war, the Asuras consistently had an upper hand. Having found that defeating the mighty Asuras was an uphill task, the Devas had no other recourse except to approach Lord Shiva. In despair, they surrendered themselves and requested the lord  to help them out from the menace of Asuras.  Shiva granted their request by creating the mighty warrior, Skanda, out of his own power or Achintya Shakti. Skanda not only assumed the role of a valiant leader but also inspired the celestial force. The rejuvenated celestial forces fought with commitment and, at last, defeated the Asuras - the evil forces. Upon their this victory, peace retured to the Devalogam (the world of Devas) and it gave the Devas  a big sigh of relief.  To recognise that victorious day the people  introduced the festival, Thaipusam.

With respect to Skanda Puranam, the legend of Murugan, divine Tamil poetic work Thirupugazh extols the virtues and bravery of Lord Subramanya who  is believed to be the embodiment of Shiva's light and wisdom. Devotees in thousands visit the famous Murugan temples across Tamil Nadu and elsewhere to get his blessings  to  overcome the  tough obstacles they face in their lives. No other festivals offer  this kind of  divine blessings and grace than Thaipusam, an opportunity drive away the dark forces.