Thai Poosam Flag Hoisting
English meaning of the festival
Thai refers to the tenth month in the Tamil calendar, and Poosam refers to the Pushya star. Thai Poosam is a combination of the name of the month and the name of a star. 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 Flag hoisting usually occurs about ten days before the main Kavady festival, which occurs annually in the month of Thai, during Shukla Paksha (waxing moon phase) on Purnima (full moon) when Poosam Nakshatra (star) is prevailing.
Significance of the festival to Hinduism
The flag hoisting marks the commencement of the week-long Thai Poosam festival.
How to observe/practice
Thai Poosam flag hoisting is a day of prayers and penance. It is dedicated to Lord Subramaniam, also known as Lord Murugan, the deity of youth, power, and virtue. The flag has a rooster symbol representing the dawn of knowledge that will destroy ignorance during and after the festival. The rooster symbolises the approach of the dawn of knowledge. It is the rooster that proclaims the coming of the sun in the east. The sun is the heavenly body that dispels darkness. The rooster on the banner announces the approach of knowledge which will destroy all ignorance. The ten-day fast or sadhana is the clearance of one’s mind, body, and soul. By fasting and going to the temple and praying for ten days, devotees become spiritually charged and uplifted to carry their Kavady. This flag hoisting is a way of giving notice of the coming event.