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Thai Poosam festival is celebrated by Tamils on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai, between January and February. It honors Lord Muruga, Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is regarded as a day when good triumphed over evil. The Tamil-speaking community across Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and South Africa also celebrate it with verve.
Lord Muruga is the commander of the Devas, and is bestowed with enormous powers. On this day, Parvati gave Muruga a lance or Vel, which is the symbol of “Brahma Jnanam” or absolute knowledge. It was given to Lord Muruga to help him conquer the demon Surapadman’s army.
On this day, Mother Goddess Parvati gave him this divine weapon to protect the world from harm. The “Vel” is a symbol of light and wisdom used by Lord Muruga to rid all the evil forces and to restore peace and balance to the universe. Lord Muruga overcame the evil forces, which were tormenting humans and all the sages across Trilok, or three different universes. The three Asuras are compared to the three evils that afflict humans - ego, attachment, and hatred.
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Lord Muruga frees people from their bad karma and enriches their lives with positivity. On this day, people undertake acts of penance such as carrying the “kavadi” (burden). People with special wishes carry it, marking their deep love and faith for Lord Muruga.
Lots of people walk long distances to reach the temple, (this is called “Pada Yatra”, meaning a path covered by walk). Before taking the Pada Yatra, they observe a month-long fast. They avoid taking non-vegetarian food and take only vegetarian food cooked in the traditional method. People offer special prayers, sing bhajans, and chant divine couplets. Many people go into a state of trance.
“Paal Kudam”, or a pot of milk, is also carried by the devotees. This milk is further submitted at the divine feet of Lord Muruga. “Abishekam”, or hydration is performed on the Lord. People pray for their problems to be solved. Once the problem is overcome, the milk pot is brought as a tribute to Lord Muruga.
“Anna Danam”, (mass feeding) is performed, as feeding people is considered to be holy. Many devotees take part in it and volunteer their service or donate money to be a part of this selfless service. Body piercing with Vel is also carried out. Some worshippers pierce their cheek and tongue.
People also offer special prayers at home and decorate the Lord’s idols. Prasadams or special feast is also offered to God. Vrat is strictly followed, with people consuming just one meal a day along with fruits and milk for the rest of the day.
Tamil people living across the globe consider Thai Poosam a special festival and celebrate it. Batu Caves, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has a Muruga Temple, which has a statue of Lord Muruga, more than 140 feet tall. In Singapore, Srilanka and Penang this festival is celebrated with great energy. Thaipusam is also celebrated in the US, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.
Muruga showers his divine grace to help people overcome their problems.
The sacred scriptures prescribe fire ceremony, Abishekam (hydration ceremony), Pooja/Archana (Light and Sound ceremony), Yantra and Mantra (special sounds) as the ways to offer your prayer to the divine. Out of these, fire ceremony is the most evolved spiritual technology on earth to connect with the divine beings. Participate in the remedial services to clear your karma and receive the blessings.