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Jan 25

Written by: Jayanthi
Friday, January 25, 2008

Thaipusam is January 16, 2014 
See Interfaith Tamil/Malalayalam/Hindu/American Calendar

Part 1 of 2: Exploring Reasons and Meanings behind the rituals of Thaipusam 
Submitted by Arun (March 2002):

Thaipusam originated in South India (Tamil Nadu). It is a grand event that happens on the full moon day in the
Tamil month, Thai (late January/early February). It seems that Thaipusam is the day Edumbar got blessings from Lord Murugan for his courageness.

Why Singaporeans carry kavadis:

1. During the days Thaipusam was public holiday in Singapore, people took the time and trouble to celebrate the event grandly. Certainly the idea was to please the Lord Muruga by carrying milk pots and small kavadis. As years goes by people tend to innovate their celebrations by making bigger kavadis; decorating and designing it to their own likes.

thaipusam1.jpg
Devotees ready for procession - milk pots on heads and piercings on body.
Many kavadi improvements are inspired by pure devotion, but also many come from worldly competition – the desire to have richer, grander kavadi.

2. The piercing of the vel (through the cheek) originated from India, but Singapore kavadis are designed to be attached with 108 hooks. So therefore a standard big kavadi comes with 108 hooks and spikes,one for the head vel, one cheek vel, and one for the tongue vel.
Reasons behind different piercings:
a) Head piercing: The head is the most prominent part of one's body, only people with high supernatural power can realize it.
b) Cheek and tongue piercing: This piercing is called "Mounam." This piercing is the greatest thing to observe. People do this to punish themselves for harsh talk and to prevent harsh talk.

My view:
I have taken part in both Thaipusam and Theemathi festivals. My feelings were really great, and can't be explained in words! During Thaipusam while piercing the spikes you will surely feel the pain. No one can deny that, but what one has to do is pray to God to ask for encouragement and strength to overcome all pain. I feel that one has to go through a range of pain and suffering for the sins one has committed knowingly and unknowingly. Taking part in the rituals does physically hurt me, but at the end of these rites I feel as if I had won the battle or accomplished something great. I find it very, very difficult to stop myself from taking part in these religious processions. But now finally I had stopped taking part in these events.

What I've realized that one’s inner attitude is more important than one's external lifestyle.

Ways to observe this include in addition to or instead of piercing and carrying kavadi:
a) Don't hurt other’s feelings.
b) Be happy with what you have, uproot jealousy.
c) Have true faith and devotion towards God.
d) Help mankind.
e) Don't steal, don't cheat and mind you're tongue.
f) Give true love to your parents and family.
g) and many more....................

If one could follow the above mentioned basic good steps and perform a daily pooja he need not carry kavadis.

Arun with piercings

thaipusam2.jpgOthers view:

1. Although kavadi is taken for Lord Murugan, some people like to place their favorite deity on their kavadis. They feel that they should bring their favorite deity from home (prayer room) to the Murugan temple to meet the Lord.

2. Whatever it is people have their own way of realising and understanding God. Understanding Hinduism, on the other hand, is a very complex issue. Even if you asked someone, "What is dust?," I'm sure you can't get a standard answer from everyone. In this way, we can't expect a solid standard answer for, "How do you know God?"


Part 1 of 2.
Follow for part 2- Stories and Legends of Thaipusam.

Related Posts/Sites: 
Other articles on my site about Lord Murugan

 

 

 

 

Copyright ©2008-2013 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar

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2 comments so far...

Understanding Hinduism

Hinduism forms the bane of society... mankind at large! As is the importance of a soul atman in body... mother earth simply cannot survive in absence of Hinduism! Rightly said... Hinduism can all be termed as Sanatana Dharma... a Dharma (righteousness) that exists from times immemorial! Hinduism is also stated as "a way of life"!

If we correctly understand meaning of Hindu Dharma... all becomes clear by itself! The simplest definition of Dharma is, "Your right to do what is just and right and not what was destined". Mounted with this power of Hindu Dharma... Hinduism shall regain its lost shine in coming years... beyond 2014!

By Vijay Kumar on   Friday, February 19, 2010

Re: Thaipusam in Singapore: Exploring Reasons and Meanings behind the rituals of Thaipusam

Thank you, Vijay. Mentioning "Your right to do what is just and right and not what was destined." this to me is interpreted as free will- people have the freedom to make the right choice regardless of their place in life.

By admin on   Friday, February 19, 2010

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