Thaipusam is celebrated annually during the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai in January or February and takes place on January 25 this year. It’s a time to ask Lord Murugan, the son of Lord Shiva, for good health, prosperity, and forgiveness in the new year. Did you know that the word ‘Thaipusam’ is a combination of two Tamil words, ‘Thai,’ one of the Tamil months, and ‘Pusam,’ which denotes the Pusam Nakshatram (Star)? The festival celebrates that Parvati gave Murugan a spear to defeat the evil Soorapadman. Let’s celebrate the victory of good over evil and cleanse our body with positiveness this Thaipusam.
History of Thaipusam
Thaipusam is a grand, colorful festival celebrated to remember Lord Murugan’s victory over evil. The story behind the significance of this day is an interesting one. According to the Hindu mythological book “Skanda Purana,” there was an Asura called Soorapadman. He grew so powerful that they couldn’t defeat him, even with the combined effort of all the devas. In a dire attempt to save the universe, they sought the help of Lord Shiva, who gave birth to Lord Murugan with his divine powers.
Parvathi, Lord Murugan’s mother, gifted her son a Vel, a divine spear with the power to defeat evil. Lord Murugan headed to the battlefield and fought Soorapadman and defeated him with his Vel. He then appeared before his devotees mounted on a peacock. Thus, with the Asura’s death, the devas restored peace in the universe. Devotees began celebrating this day as Thaipusam.
Preparations of Thaipusam start weeks or even months in advance. The devotees condition their mind and body about a week before the festival by extensive praying and fasting. On the day of Thaipusam, the devotees would perform various acts of penance, like carrying a ‘kavadi’ (burden). Some extreme measures of paying thanks to Lord Murugan include piercing skewers through the tongues, cheeks, and bodies of kavadi bearers, walking through burning coal, e.t.c. Devotees believe that their sins can be cleansed through these devotional activities. They also believe that their life will be filled with happiness, wealth, and health.
The earliest known references to Lord Murugan appear in Sanskrit literature.
The earliest text of “Skanda Purana” is created.
The Tamil immigrants bring the festival of Thaipusam to Malaysia.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu announces that Thaipusam will be included in the public holiday calendar.
Is Thaipusam celebrated only in India?
Thaipusam is celebrated across the world. In countries like India, Malaysia, and Singapore, this is one of the prominent festivals of the year.
Does the day for Thaipusam differ each year?
Yes, Thaipusam is celebrated during the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (usually during January or February).
Is Thaipusam Lord Murugan’s birthday?
Most historical records and legends say that Thaipusam marks the occasion of Lord Murugan receiving the Vel from his mother. However, some people argue that Thaipusam is Lord Murugan’s birthday.
How to Observe Thaipusam
One of the best ways to celebrate this day is by learning more about Thaipusam and Lord Murugan. It’s a historically and culturally rich journey.
Educate your friends and family
Don’t keep your knowledge to yourself. Tell your family and friends about the amazing story of Lord Murugan and the significance of Thaipusam.
Visit Kuala Lumpur
Do you want the complete Thaipusam experience? Visit Malaysia and witness the grand scale of the festival at the Batu Caves.
5 Cool Facts About Lord Murugan And Thaipusam
Lord Murugan is a handsome god
According to legend, Lord Murugan is one of the most beautiful-looking and handsome gods.
Kavadi cures the sick
Kavadi is mostly carried by devotees who are praying for their loved ones who are sick — it is believed that this ritual cures chronic diseases.
It’s a public holiday
Although it is a Tamil festival, Thaipusam is a public holiday in many states of Malaysia and Mauritius.
Lord Murugan’s peacock
Lord Murugan’s vehicle, the peacock called Paravani, was originally an Asura.
His weapon is not a trident
The idol of Lord Murugan carries a spear in one hand — it is not a trident; it’s a special weapon that represents Kundalini Shakthi.
Why Thaipusam is Important
God of the Tamils
Although hundreds of gods are worshipped in India, Lord Murugan is said to be a Tamil god. So, Thaipusam is extra special for the Tamil population across the world.
It teaches us discipline with devotion
Thaipusam requires the devotees to pledge vows, observe celibacy, follow a vegetarian diet, and more, starting weeks before the day of the festival. This teaches discipline and helps us appreciate the gift of life.
It’s one of the biggest festivals in the world
Thaipusam is celebrated in India and celebrated grandly in a spectacular fashion in several countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka.