Thaipusam or Thaipoosam (Tamil: தைப்பூசம், Taippūcam ?), also known as Thaipooyam in Kerala (Malayalam: തൈപ്പൂയം, Taippūyam ?), is a festival celebrated by the Tamil and Malayali communities on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February), usually coinciding with Pushya star, known as Poosam in Tamil and Pooyam in Malayalam. It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius Singapore, South Africa, Canada and other places where ethnic Hindu Tamils reside as a part of the local Indian diaspora population such as Réunion, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica and the other parts of the Caribbean.
It is a national holiday in many countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius. In certain states of Malaysia and in the nations of Sri Lanka and Mauritius it is a government and a bank holiday. In Singapore, it was previously a national holiday but was removed from the official list of national holidays.
The word Thaipusam is a combination of the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Pusam. This particular star is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a Vel "spear" so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. It is commonly believed that Thaipusam marks Murugan's birthday; Some other sources suggest that Vaikhasi Vishakam, which falls in the Vaikhasi month (May/June), is Murugan's birthday.
Murugan during Thaipusam.
|Also called||தமிழர் திருவிழா|
|Observed by||Tamils ,Sri Lankan Tamils, Malaysian Indians, Indian Singaporeans, Indian Indonesians, Indo-Caribbeans, Indo-Fijians, and Indo-Mauritians|
|Significance||The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a Vel|
|Date||decided by the Tamil calendar.|
|2019 date||Monday 21 January|
|2020 date||Saturday 8 February|
This festival was, according to one tradition, said to have been supposedly created during one of the battles between the Asuras (or to be more specific Soorapadman) and the Devas. At one point, the latter were defeated several times by the former. The Devas were unable to resist the onslaught of the Asura forces. In despair, they approached Shiva and entreated to give them an able leader under whose heroic leadership they might obtain victory over the Asuras. They surrendered themselves completely and prayed to Shiva. Shiva granted their request by creating the mighty warrior, Skanda, out of his own power or Achintya Shakti. He at once assumed leadership of the celestial forces, inspired them and defeated the Asura forces and to recognise that day the people created the festival, Thaipusam.
According to Skanda Puranam, the legend of Murugan, and Thirupugal which are divine verses on Murugan, adhere to Shaivam principles. Murugan is the embodiment of Shiva's light and wisdom and devotees pray to him to overcome the obstacles they face, as He is the divine vanquisher of evil. The motive of Thaipusam festival is to pray to God to receive his grace so that bad traits are destroyed.
The Kavadi Attam ("kavadi Dance", also written as cavadee) is the ceremonial sacrifice (dance that helps to maintain healthy body) and offering performed by devotees during the worship of Murugan. It is often performed during the festival of Thaipusam and emphasizes debt bondage. The Kavadiis a semicircular decorated canopy supported by a wooden rod that is carried on the shoulders to the temple. kavadi is used to carry their food resources which they required during the "nadai payanam" (journey by walk with bare foot). It took even more than a weak (depends upon the location of temple) for their devotees to reach the lord muruga temple by walk . Mostly the devotees go to lord muruga temple located in palani, which is one among the "arupadai veedu"(six houses or the own places of lord muruga). Palani muruga temple is famous for its medicinal values. "Bogar"(ancient siddhar and devotee of lord muruga) made that statue of lord muruga in palani, with the mixture of sevaral sidhha medicines.
Devotees prepare for the celebration by keeping their body always clean, doing regualr prayers, following vegetarian diet and fasting for 48 days before Thaipusam. Kavadi-bearers have to perform elaborate ceremonies at the time of assuming the kavadi and at the time of offering it to Murugan. The kavadi-bearer observes celibacy and consumes only certain types of foods known as Satvik food, once a day, while continuously thinking of God. On the day of the festival, devotees shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route, while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi. The devotees belive that, worshiping lord muruga every year in this way , makes them physically and mentally healthy.
At its simplest, this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is also common.In addition, some have a small spear through their tongue, or a spear through the cheeks.".
In Palani Sri Dhandayuthapani temple, 10 day Festival (Brahmotsavam) is held during Thaipusam. Thirukalyanam (Celestial Wedding) will be held on the day before Thaipusam. On Thaipusam, Therottam will be held. Lord Muthukumaraswamy will bless devotees in Thanga Guthirai Vahanam (Golden Horse), Periya Thanga Mayil Vahanam (Golden Peacock), Theppotsavam (Float Festival) during the 10 day festival.
In Chidamabaram (Thillai) Panchamurthi Veedhi Ula, Thirthavari, Thaandava Darsanam Aarthi will be held on Thaipusam. In Madurai Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple, Sri Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Theppotsavam (Float Festival) will be held at Mariammam Theppa Kulam. In Mylapore Kapaleeswarar Temple, 3 Day Theppotsavam will be held during Thaipusam Pournami.
At the Linga Bhairavi temple in Coimbatore, devotees participate in a 21-day Shivanga sadhana, which ends on Thaipusam at the temple. Women offer kudam or pots of plants, grain and fruit, which they carry on their heads over a certain distance.
Outside India, Thaipusam celebrations take place in USA, Mauritius, Malaysia and Singapore. It is a public holiday in several states in Malaysia. In Malaysia, the temple at Batu Caves, near Kuala Lumpur & Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple, Penang near George Town, Penang & Nattukkottai Chettiar Temple, Penang and Ipoh Kallumalai,Perak, often attracts over one million devotees and tens of thousands of tourists.
In Singapore, Hindu devotees start their procession at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in the early morning, carrying milk pots as offerings or attaching "kavadis" and spikes pierced on their body. The procession travels for 4 kilometres before finishing at Tank Road, Sri Thendayuthapani Temple.
In Indonesia, the procession mainly held in the capital of North Sumatra province, Medan. On the eve of Thaipusam, the Hindus gathered together at Sree Soepramaniem Nagarattar Temple at Kejaksaan Road to accompanying a 125 years old chariot or locally known as Radhoo from the temple to the main temple nearby (about 2-3km) at Sri Mariamman Temple at Kampung Madras which opening for 24-hours for the festival. The kavadi procession are also happening at the day, but it takes on different temples around Medan and other parts in the province depends on them celebrate it.
In the United States of America, the Shiva Murugan Temple in Concord, California celebrates the Thaipoosam preceded by a walk. Some people walk more than 46 miles from the city of Fremont, some walk 21 miles from the city of San Ramon to Concord, and most walk 7 miles from Walden Park in Walnut Creek to Concord. Over 2000 people participated in the walk for last several years.
The Balathandayuthapani Temple, officially the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Kovil, better known as the Waterfall Hill Temple or "Thaneer Malai" (Tamil: அருள்மிகு பாலதண்டாயுதபாணி கோயில்) by locals, is a temple complex located in George Town, Penang. The main deity of this temple is Murugan. Visitors need to climb 513 stairs to reach the temple. It is the focal point of the Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia, after the Batu Caves. The hilltop temple, with its seven-storey 21.6m-tall gopuram (main tower), has been touted as the largest Lord Murugan temple outside India.Astro Vinmeen HD
Astro Vinmeen HD (Tamil:ஆஸ்ட்ரோ விண்மீன்) is a Malaysia Tamil language High-definition entertainment free-to-view commercial satellite channel television network that is co-owned by South East Asia's second richest man, Ananda Krishnan and Astro Malaysia Holdings. It is South East Asia’s first 24-hour general entertainment Tamil HD channel. This channel features a variety of programs ranging from reality shows, English talkshows, travelogues, lifestyle programs, magic shows, Documentaries, celebrity cooking shows, classical Carnatic music shows, original Astro productions and blockbuster movies. It began broadcasting on 18 October 2013. Astro Vinemeen HD is part of the Basic HD Pack and Maharaja Pack available to all B.yond HD customers.
Selected programmes also aired on Astro Vaanavil. It also broadcast content from Puthuyugam TV and Vendhar TV.The channel holds the Guinness World Records for the Longest Live Streamed festival, with 55 hours non-stop live streaming of Thaipusam festival on 22 to 25 January 2016.Batu Caves
Batu Caves (Tamil: பத்து மலை) is a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia. It takes its name from the Sungai Batu (Stone River), which flows past the hill. It is the tenth (பத்து - Pathu in Tamil) limestone hill from Ampang. Batu Caves is also the name of a nearby village.
The cave is one of the most popular Tamil shrines outside India, and is dedicated to Lord Murugan (Tamil God Murugan Tamil: தமிழ் கடவுள் முருகன்). It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.
Batu Caves in short also referred as 10th Caves or Hill for Lord Muruga as there are six important holy shrines in India and four more in Malaysia. The three others in Malaysia are Kallumalai Temple in Ipoh, Tanneermalai Temple in Penang and Sannasimalai Temple in Malacca.Clairwood Shree Siva Soobramoniar Temple
Clairwood Shree Siva Soobramoniar Temple, also known as C.S.S.S.T, is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Muruga, located in Clairwood in Durban. Muruga is worshiped as Siva Soobramoniar. It was renovated on a number of occasions for various reasons; major refurbishment was undertaken in 2014 by stabathis from India. It was followed by observing the Maha Kumba Abishegam, which marked the 125th year since the temple was established in 1889.The temple has been popular among the South African Indians for the Annual Thaipusam Kavady Festival.Hindu Mahajana Sangam
The Hindu Mahajana Sangam (Tamil: இந்து மகாஜன சங்கம்) is an association of Indian workers. It is one of the Indian non-profitable organization at Penang, Malaysia which has been officially established in 1935 by waterfronts workers. Before 1935, it known as Kootakkadai (Tamil: கூட்டக்கடை).
The name Mahajana comes from two words, maha meaning great and jana meaning people. So Mahajana can be described as great people in Tamil, though in Sanskrit, it is translated as great vehicle. The Indian workers who arrived here were farmers back home. They preferred to call themselves Kootakadai, because they work as a kootam (Tamil: கூட்டம்) which is gang or group, rather than calling themselves coolies or labourers.
The Hindu Mahajana Sangam was established in 1935 after following the first consecration of the Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple in Queen Street which was held in 1933. It was established for religious observances, to promote education, social/cultural development, participates in the administration/development of the Sri Muthu Mariamman, Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani and act as union for the workers.
The sangam's madam (hall) located at 674, Jalan Kebun Bunga (formerly known as Waterfall Road) near the foothill of the Waterfall Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani hilltop temple, is named as Gandhiji Ashram in remembrance of Mahatma Gandhi on 22nd Feb 1948.Hinduism in Singapore
Hindu religion and culture in Singapore can be traced back to the 7th century AD, when Temasek was a trading post of Hindu-Buddhist Srivijaya empire. A millennium later, a wave of immigrants from southern India were brought to Singapore, mostly as coolies and indentured labourers by the British East India Company and colonial British Empire. As with Malay peninsula, the British administration sought to stabilise a reliable labour force in its regional plantation and trading activities; it encouraged Hindus to bring family through the kangani system of migration, settle, build temples and segregated it into a community that later became Little India.There are currently about thirty main Hindu temples in Singapore, dedicated to various gods and goddesses. There were an estimated 260,000 Hindus in Singapore in 2010. Hindus are a minority, constituting about 5.1% of adult Singapore citizens and permanent residents in 2010. Almost all Hindus in Singapore are ethnic Indians (99%), with some who have married into Hindu families. Hinduism peaked at 5.5% of the total population in 1931.In Singapore, the Hindu festival of Deepavali is recognised as a national public holiday. Some non-Indians, usually Buddhist Chinese, participate in various Hindu activities. Unlike various states of Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore places no restrictions on religious freedoms of Hindus.
Population of resident ethnic group registered as Hindus 2015.Jalan Batu Caves
Jalan Batu Caves (Selangor state route B22) is a major road in Klang Valley region, Selangor, Malaysia. The road connects Selayang in the west to Gombak in the east, passing by Batu Caves. During Thaipusam every year, the road is closed to all traffic for the procession from Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur.Kavadi Attam
Kavadi Attam (Tamil:காவடி ஆட்டம்) ("Burden Dance") is a ceremonial sacrifice and offering practiced by devotees during the worship of Lord Murugan, the Hindu God of War. It is a central part of the festival of Thaipusam and emphasizes debt bondage. The kavadi ("burden") itself is a physical burden, the bearing of which is used by the devotee to implore Murugan for assistance, usually on behalf of a loved one who is in need of healing, or as a means of balancing a spiritual debt. Devotees process and dance along a pilgrimage route while bearing these burdens.List of Hindu festivals
There are a great number of Hindu religious festivals held throughout the world. The festivals typically celebrate events from Hindu mythology, often coinciding with seasonal changes. There are many festivals which are primarily celebrated by specific sects or in certain regions of the Indian subcontinent.
The festive season in India is the most widely celebrated and rejoiced by the people. Festivals not only have a historic significance to them, they are rooted in various cultural and linguistic norms associated with them. The festivities have their own spark, they bring together, or in other words, unite people of different religions and sects into a unified whole. With so many festivals always round the corner, there is a wave of liveliness and celebration in the society. Bringing people together is just one aspect of it, festivals hold with them the sacred cultural roots and traditions that is unique to every festival. The onset of the famous Diwali marks the beginning of lighting 'diyas', beautifying homes, offering gifts and visiting our near and dear ones. Similarly, the Holi festival is said to be the 'Festival of Colors", with its magnificent rain dance and the 'gulaal', it surely colors the lives of people.Little India, Ipoh
Little India in the city of Ipoh Malaysia, is an ethnic Indian enclave.
Little India is also famous for Malaysian Indian cuisine.It also serve as main commercial and cultural activities for Indians in Ipoh City.
Little India is now a main tourist destination in Ipoh City.
The place became more lively during festive seasons like Deepavali, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidiladha, Christmas, Ugadi/Puthandu/Vaisakhi/Vishu, Makara Sankranthi/Ponggal/Lohri-Maghi and Thaipusam.Little India, Penang
Covering an area around Queen Street, Chulia Street and Market Street, Little India (Tamil: குட்டி இந்தியா) in the city of George Town in Malaysia, is an ethnic Indian enclave. The oldest Hindu temple in Penang, Sri Mahamariamman Temple is located here. This area bears many similarities to market streets in Chennai, Mumbai or Delhi. Its location at the centre of Penang Heritage Zone and nearby Penang's main finance centre, Beach Street make it one of the most famous and notable shopping spot in Penang among local and tourist. Little India is also famous for Malaysian Indian cuisine. It also serves as main commercial and cultural activities of Penang Indians.
The place becomes more lively during festival times like Deepavali, Christmas and ThaipusamLord Murugan Statue
Lord Murugan Statue (Tamil: முருகன் சிலை; Bahasa Malaysia: Tugu Dewa Murugga), representing Murugan,is the tallest statue of a Hindu deity in Malaysia and third tallest statue of a Hindu deity in the world, after Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue in Indonesia and Kailashnath Mahadev Statue in Nepal. It is also the tallest statue in Malaysia at 42.7 metres (140 ft) in height. It is located at the Sri Murugan Perumal Kovil at the foot of Batu Caves. It took 3 years of construction and unveiled in January 2006 during Thaipusam festival.Malaysians of Indian descent in Penang
Penangite Indians (Tamil:பினாங்கு இந்தியர்கள்; Malaysian: Kaum India di Pulau Pinang), also known as Chulias are Malaysian Indians that live primarily in the state of Penang, Malaysia. Most are the descendants from those who migrated from India during the British colonisation of Malaya. However, historical sources prove that the ancient Indians arrived in Penang during the Chola dynasty. Today, the Penangite Indians are one of the most successful ethnic groups in Penang state and whole of Malaysia. Penangite Indians forms a large percentage of the state's professional labours such as business, law and medicine as well as politics, it can be proved by the appointment of Dr P. Ramasamy as deputy chief minister of Penang. It made him the first Malaysian of Indian origin to hold the post of deputy chief minister in any state of Malaysia. In addition, first Tamil Vernacular School in Malaysia was established in Penang.Public holidays in Malaysia
Public holidays in Malaysia are regulated at both federal and state levels, mainly based on a list of federal holidays observed nationwide plus a few additional holidays observed by each individual state and federal territory. The public holidays are a mix of secular holidays celebrating the nation and its history, and selected traditional holidays of the various ethnic and religious groups that make up the country.
The legislation governing public holidays in Malaysia includes the Holidays Act 1951 (Act 369) in Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan, the Holidays Ordinance (Sabah Cap. 56) in Sabah and the Public Holidays Ordinance (Sarawak Cap. 8) in Sarawak.
The workweek and weekend varies between states, with most states and federal territories observing a Saturday–Sunday weekend, while Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu observe a Friday–Saturday weekend. In states and territories with a Saturday–Sunday weekend, a public holiday that falls on Sunday is substituted by a holiday on Monday (or the next working day if Monday itself is a public holiday). In Johor and Kedah, a public holiday that falls on Friday is replaced by Sunday or the next working day, while in Kelantan and Terengganu, a public holiday that falls on Saturday is replaced by Sunday or the next working day.Public holidays in Singapore
There are eleven public holidays in Singapore. Each major local race and religion have two holidays each in addition to the secular holidays of New Year's Day, Labour Day and National Day. For the Chinese, Chinese New Year (two days) and the Buddhist holiday Vesak Day (one day) are also observed. For the Hindus, Deepavali (one day) is celebrated. For the Muslims, the two Islamic holidays of Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (one day on 1 Syawal) and Hari Raya Aidil Adha (one day on 10 Zulhijah) are celebrated. As for the Christians, the two Christian holidays of Good Friday and Christmas Day (25 December) are celebrated. These public holidays have been recognised since Singapore's 1966 Holidays Act.Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Penang
Built in 1833, the Arulmigu Sri Mahamariamman Temple in George Town is the oldest Hindu temple in Penang, Malaysia, and features sculptures of gods and goddesses over its main entrance and facade. It is located at Queen Street, George Town.It is also known as Mariamman Temple or Queen Street Indian Temple. Throughout the years, the Sri Mahamariamman temple has also been known by several names: Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple, Sri Arulmigu Mahamariamman Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple. All these names refer to the same temple. The temple is open daily from 6.30 am - 12.00 noon and 4.30 pm - 9.00 pm. It became a place of worship as early as 1801 and became a temple in 1833. It has stood at the same place for more than 200 years.Sri Mariamman Temple, Medan
Sri Mariamman Temple is Medan's oldest Hindu Temple. This temple was built in 1884 for the worship of Goddess Mariamman. The temple is situated in the area known as Kampung Madras or Medan's Little India. This temple is also devoted to the Hindu Gods Ganesha, and Murugan, children of Mariamman. The Gate is decorated by gopuram, namely storey tower which can usually be found at the gate of the Hindus temples in South India. The temple is a meeting point for worshippers during Thaipusam and Deevapali festivals.Sri Thendayuthapani Temple
The Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, better known as the Chettiars' Temple or the Tank Road temple, is one of the Singapore Hindu community's most important monuments. It was gazetted as a national monument on 21 October 2014. It was built in 1859 by Nattukkottai Chettiar community.
This Hindu temple, dedicated to the six-faced Lord Subramaniam, is at its most active during the festival of Thaipusam. It is here that hundreds of pilgrims, their bodies pierced by hooks, spears and spiked steel structures called kavadi, end their Kavadi Attam procession from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Serangoon Road. This act of penance and propitiation is carried out by devotees in gratitude to Lord Subramanian, son of Lord Siva, for granting their prayers.Tamil Mauritian
Tamil Mauritians are the descendants of Tamil migrants to Mauritius. The original immigrants from Tamil were craftsmen and tradesmen, and arrived when Mauritians was ruled by France. The island nation has a Tamil population of 115,000. Most were brought by the British from Tamil Nadu after 1727 to serve as labourers on the sugar cane plantations. Around 15 percent of Indo-Mauritians are Tamils. The community includes a Hindu majority, and the rest are Christians (largely Roman Catholic).
They account to 55,000 of the Mauritian population. Of this number, around 7000 people reported that they spoke Tamil. Most Tamils in Mauritius are Hindus. A large population of the Tamils in Mauritius live in Rose-Hill.
Thaipusam, the Tamil Hindu festival, is a national holiday in Mauritius and is notable in the temples.
Most Tamil Mauritians can read, and write Tamil to some extent, but very few can speak it well. Most speak Mauritian Creole, which include many Tamil words. A Tamil magazine Pathirikai and a Tamil radio station Onex FM exist in Mauritius. Most cultural aspects and rituals can be seen in full-fledged manner. Around a 100 schools teach Tamil as a mother tongue subject. It can also be learnt at university level. A Tamil conference was held here. Murugan temples are common and some Tamil place names are found here.