Sri Meenakshi Temple Society Hosts Grand Celebration of Thaipoosam on Full Moon Sunday, February 12


By Kamala Raghavan

PEARLAND: Thaipoosam was conducted at MTS on a grand scale on Sunday, February 12. More than 800 devotees participated in the celebrations including “Kavadi”, “Paalkudam” and reciting the Skanda Shasti Kavasam providing a feast to the eyes and ears.

Thaipoosam, is a festival celebrated mostly by the South Indian community on the full moon in the month of Thai (January/February) in many countries around the world including India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, Guadeloupe, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, parts of the Caribbean, UK, and USA. The word Thaipoosam combines the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Poosam which is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates the occasion when Mother Parvathi gave Lord Murugan a “Vel “ or spear to vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman.


Lord Murugan also known affectionately as “Kandan”, “Velan (one with the spear)”, “Subramanyan”, “Azaghan (the handsome one”, and “Kumaran (the child)” is beloved deity in South India who was also a patron of the Tamil language.

The divine verses on Murugan, “Skanda Puranam” (the legend of Murugan), and “Thirupugazh” adhere to Shaiva principles. Murugan is the embodiment of Shiva’s light and wisdom, and devotees pray to him to overcome the obstacles they face. The festival is celebrated with devotees carrying the “Kavadi (decorated canopy)” on their shoulders, or a “paalkudam (pot of milk)” on their head in a procession to signify carrying a physical burden to implore for help from the God Murugan. The simplest kavadi is a semicircular decorated canopy supported by a wooden rod that is carried on the shoulders to the temple.


At MTS, the celebration started at 9:00 am at the Ganesh temple with more than 150 decorated “paalkudams” and 113 “kavadis” each. Volunteers spent countless hours preparing the beautiful kavadis and paalkudams during the previous day, as well as cutting vegetables and getting ready for the sumptuous lunch prepared by the kitchen staff under the able direction of Mrs. Rani Chilukuri. The priests performed sankalpam and puja for the paalkudams and kavadis, and handed them to the devotees to take them around in a procession to the kalyana mandapam.

The procession was accompanied by the incomparable “Chenda melam” performed by young MTS devotees. Many youngsters carried the kavadis eagerly, showing that our tradition continues proudly. At the kalyana mandapam the priests did the Abhishekam, Alankaram, and Upacharam for Lord Murugan with Deivayanai and Valli Devis, while the devotees recited “Kanda Shasti Kavasam” and bhajans. The grand finale of the event with a strong divine ambience was the Aarti by the priests. Volunteers distributed the milk from the “Abhishekam” and “Prasadam” bags with coconuts. The “Utsava Murthi” of Lord Murugan along with his consorts Deivayanai and Valli were taken on a procession on the silver chariot or “Ratham” to the main temple for the final Aarthi. Prasadam and “Aannadhanam (lunch)” were provided by the temple to all the devotees. The event was coordinated flawlessly by Dr. T.A. Dorairajan, Malar Narayanan and Muthuraman Solayappan.

Chairman thanked the priests Sri. Manicka Bhattar, Sri. Kalyana Sundaram, and Sri Balaji Sethuraman along with the temple staff and countless volunteers who made the event a pleasure for the devotees, and deserve everyone’s gratitude.