Thai Poosam Kavady

English meaning of the festival

Thai refers to the tenth month in the Tamil calendar and Poosam refers to the Pushya star. Thai Poosam combines the month’s name and a star’s name. Kavady is a pole slung across the shoulder to evenly distribute the weight of whatever is being carried on either end of the poles.

How the date is decided annually

Thai Poosam Kavady occurs annually in the month of Thai (Maagha in North India), during Shukla Paksha (waxing moon phase) on Purnima (full moon) when Poosam Nakshatra (star) is prevailing.

Significance of the festival to Hinduism

The festival commemorates when Parvati gave Murugan a Vel “spear” to defeat the evil demon Soorapadman.

How to observe/practice

Thaipusam is a day of prayers and penance. It is dedicated to Lord Subramaniam, and is also known as Lord Murugan the deity of youth, power and virtue. This festival is a time for repentance for devotees, with celebrations carried out mainly at the Temple. Devotees carry water and milk to Temples to bathe the murti of Lord Murugan. Generally, ten days before Thai Poosam Kavady, a flag is hoisted at Temples. This flag hoisting is a way of giving notice of the coming event.

Updated: 10 January 2023