Thiru Subramaniyar Temple of the Hindu Temple Society of New Zealand (located) at 69 Tidal Road in Mangere, Auckland celebrated ‘Thaipusam,’ including traditional ‘Kavadi’ Abhishekam and other religious rites.
The three-day festival was held at the Temple from February 9 to February 11, 2017, with morning and evening prayers, recitations of excerpts from various Tamil religious and literary texts (such as ‘Thiruvasagam,’ ‘Devaram,’ and ‘Skanada Puranam.’). Hundreds of men, women and children attended the celebrations.
The final day witnessed prayers, Mangal Arti and Maha Prasad in the morning and a procession of Lord Murugan with his consorts Devayani and Valli, in the form of ‘Urchavamurthi.’
‘Thaipusam’ or ‘Thaipoosam’ is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the Full Moon during the Tamil month of ‘Thai’ (January/February).
It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community including Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Guadeloupe, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Réunion, Indonesia, Singapore, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and United States of America.
The word ‘Thaipusam’ is a combination of the name of the month, ‘Thai,’ and the name of a star ‘Pusam’ (or ‘Poosam’) This Star is at its highest point during the festival.
The Festival commemorates the occasion when Goddess Parvathi gave Lord Murugan a ‘Vel’ (Spear) to vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman.
It is believed that ‘Thaipusam’ marks Lord Murugan’s Birthday.
Some other sources suggest that ‘Vaikhasi Vishakam,’ which falls in the ‘Vaikhasi’ month (May/June), is Murugan’s birthday.
Conflict with Demon
This festival was created during one of the battles between the ‘Asuras’ (Demons), specifically Soorapadman, and the Devas.
At one point, the latter were defeated several times by the former.
The Devas were unable to resist the onslaught of the Asura forces. In despair, they approached Shiva and entreated to give them an able leader under whose heroic leadership they might obtain victory over the Asuras.
They surrendered themselves completely and prayed to Lord Shiva, who granted their request by creating the mighty warrior, ‘Skanda,’ out of his own power or ‘Achintya Shakti.’
He at once assumed leadership of the celestial forces, inspired them and defeated the Asuras. The day is commemorated as ‘Thaipusam.’
‘Skanda Puranam,’ the legend of Lord Murugan, and ‘Thirupugazh,’ which are divine verses on the Lord, adhere to Shaivam principles.
Murugan is the embodiment of Shiva’s light and wisdom and devotees pray to him to overcome the obstacles they face, as He is the divine vanquisher of evil. The motive of Thaipusam festival is to pray to God to receive his grace so that bad traits are destroyed.