The Significance Of Thaipusam


Batu Caves, Malaysia

Thaipusam, a grand festival dedicated to the second son of God Shiva, Muruga or Karthikeya. The colorful festival is celebrated during the month of January or February, and this year, the festival lands on 24th of January. Thaipusam is celebrated by the Tamil speaking community, and some states where it is commonly witnessed are Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andra Pradesh, but in Kerala the festival is referred to as Thaipooyam. The celebrated marked for Karthikeya is has also transcended international boundaries. Countries like Malaysia, South Africa and Sri Lanka also celebrate this festival.

Thaipusam commemorates the death of Tharakasuran at the hands of Karthikeya during the month of Thai. The festival is a symbol of victory of good over evil.

The festival of Thaipuram is earmarked by the various types of Kavadis that are carried by devotees to the Murugan Temple. The most biggest Kavadi pilgrimage takes places in Batu Caves, Malaysia.


On this auspicious occasion, a large number of devotees visit Murugan temples carrying the Kavadi. Some extremely devotees believers of Karthikeya pierce their tongue and cheek with ‘vel’ (small lances). Few of them insert hooks in their body and some use these hooks to pull heavy objects. On the day, devotees go to any length to display their devotion to God Muruga.

The more subdued devotees offer fruits and yellow or orange colored flowers to God Muruga. They wear yellow or orange colored dress. These two colors are identified with Muruga. Some people carry pots of milk on their head.




The significance of Kavadi is based on the story of Idumban and Murugan.

Idumban was a student of Sage Agastya. He was asked by his teacher to bring the two hills occupied by God Murga, namely Shivagiri and Shaktigiri. As Idumban picked up the mountains, God Muruga was observing from a distance and decided to test the determination of Idumban. Karthikeya disguised as a little kid and stood on top of the mountain. Idumban requested the child to move, but failed to get any response from him. Enraged by the child, he attacked him but Idumban was not able to move the child despite his warrior qualities.

Once Idumban regained his composure, he finally saw who the child really was, and stood there folding his arms in reverence. Please by his devotion, Karthikeya appointed him as his guard and declared that any devotee who carries a Kavadi which symbolizes the mountain carried by Idumban will be given preference in a Murugan Temple.


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