Thaipusam (Tamil:தைப்பூசம், Malayalam:തൈപ്പൂയം) or ‘Thaipoosam’ is a significant festival celebrated by the Tamils of the Hindu community. This festival is observed on the Purnima (full moon day) during the auspicious month of Thai as per the Tamil calendar. It corresponds to the month of January or February in the Gregorian calendar. Thaipusam is observed by all age groups - both men and women alike.

Thaipusam 2024 is on January 26, Friday

7 months and 27 days to go for the event

Thaipusam festival photo Image Source: IANS

People participate in Thaipusam Festival

The word ‘Thaipusam’ is obtained by combining the two words, ‘Thai’ name of Tamil month and ‘Pusam’, which is the name of a star. Hence on the occasion of Thaipusam this star is at highest point during the month of Thai.

The festival of Thaipusam commemorates the victory of Lord Murugan, who is the Hindu God of war. As per the Hindu mythology Goddess Parvati gave Lord Murugan a spear ‘Vel’ to defeat the demon named ‘Soorapadman’. Therefore on the propitious day of Thaipusam, the devotees worship Lord Murugan, the son of Lord Shiva to obtain his grace to destroy all the evil and bad traits in their life. This festival is celebrated mainly in the southern states of India. Thaipusam also holds immense significant in counties outside India that is inhabited by Tamil community in large numbers like Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, Guadalupe, Thailand and even South Africa.

Also Read: Thaipusam: Facts of the Tamil Nadu Festival that will leave you in awe!

Thaipusam images Image Source: IANS

Devotees of Lord Muruga during the Thaipusam festival

Rituals of Thaipusam:

1. The observer of Thaipusam starts the preparation of the celebrations 48 hours in advance by the means of fasting and prayer. The Kavadi-bearers need to perform an elaborate ritual at the time of picking the kavadi and while making the offerings to Murugan. They therefore observe celibacy and eat only pure, satvik food once during the day. The Kavadi-bearers live a life of strict discipline denouncing all the worldly activities. As a part of the ceremony, devotees dress up in yellow and orange clothing.

2. On the day of Thaipusam, the devotees shave their heads off and proceed towards the temple of their deity. All through the way they engage in different forms of devotion like carrying varied types of kavadi or burdens. While carrying a pot of milk is the simplest form of kavadi, the extremes of which includes piercing the tongue, cheeks or skin with vel skewers. The act of piercing constantly reminds the devotees about Lord Murugan and gives the bearer immense power of endurance.

Thaipusam celebrations Image Source: IANS

A Devotee participate in Kavadi Attam as part of Thaipusam celebration

3. On reaching their pilgrimage the bearers lay down their Kavadi. Honey or milk is then poured on the idol of the deity in the form of thanksgiving. Devotees offer yellow fruits and flowers to Lord Murugan. The devotees who use skewers and hooks on their body parts, when they reach the temple, the metal implements are immediately removed and their wounds are treated with hot ash. Much to the surprise, there is no sign of pain, blood or even any scarring at all. This reinforces the belief of the devotees.

Thaipusam festival image Image Source: Xinhua/Then Chih Wey/IANS

A Devotee from Thaipusam festival

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Important Timings On Thaipusam 2024

SunriseJanuary 26, 2024 7:13 AM
SunsetJanuary 26, 2024 6:05 PM
Poosam Nakshathram BeginsJanuary 25, 2024 8:16 AM
Poosam Nakshathram EndsJanuary 26, 2024 10:28 AM
Place : Ujjain [ India ] See More

Thaipusam is observed as a day of penance and is a thanksgiving ceremony to Lord Murugan, also called as Lord Subramanian, for answering their prayers. Lord Subramanian is known to be the universal granter of desires. It is a belief that for fulfilment of one’s desires, it is necessary to pay for the past sins. Normally upon the fulfilment of their wishes, devotees make a vow to carry the Kavadi for a period of 1, 3 or 5 years in consecution. Asking for a progeny, success in business or examination and cure from illnesses are some of the common wishes that people make to their Lord Murugan. On the occasion of Thaipusam one can witness several rituals and parades taking place in different parts of the country. Large number of tourists flocks during this time to see the activities, noise and colors of Thaipusam. Thaipusam is celebrated with great pomp and show in all the six temples dedicated to Lord Murugan, located in southern states of India.

Thaipusam festival dates between 2020 & 2030

2020Saturday, 8th of February
2021Thursday, 28th of January
2022Tuesday, 18th of January
2023Sunday, 5th of February
2024Friday, 26th of January
2025Tuesday, 11th of February
2026Sunday, 1st of February
2027Saturday, 23rd of January
2028Wednesday, 9th of February
2029Tuesday, 30th of January
2030Sunday, 20th of January