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Thaipusam 2023

The good news for everyone celebrating the Thaipusam festival in 2023 is that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has declared a holiday on the Thaipusam festival, which is celebrated in honour of Lord Murugan. Thaipusam, an eye-catching annual Hindu festival, generally falls between mid-January to mid-February. This year, Thaipusam will be celebrated on 05 February 2023 in India. According to legends, the month of Thai presented in the Hindu calendar is highly auspicious. The stories say that this month, Lord Murugan, or Pusam as he's generally called, taught the meaning of the word "Aum" to his father, Lord Shiva. Pusam is also known as Lord Subramaniam, while the word "Aum" is highly significant in Hindu culture. It is said that the Aum signifies the primaeval word of creation and was also a turning point when a student transformed into a teacher.

The Legends behind the Celebration

According to mythological sources, when Devas (angels or demi-gods) were overwhelmed by the demon Tarakasur, they prayed to Lord Shiva. He sent them a saviour in the form of Lord Murugan. Also known as Lord Karthikeya, he led the Devas in war and defeated the demonic forces. Along with these heroic exploits, as mentioned above, he also taught his father, the meaning of "Aum." In a way, Thaipusam is celebrated to honour the exploits of Lord Murugan through his acts that vanquished evil and brought light, learning, and knowledge to humanity.

The celebration

Thaipusam, as a festival, is celebrated when the moon reaches its zenith position in the sky. In almost all the celebrations, the full moon, or the days of Poornima, is when people flock in droves to celebrate this festival. It is celebrated by Tamil-speaking Hindus worldwide in India, Malaysia, Thailand, and more. Even countries like Guadeloupe, Suriname, Jamaica, Guyana, Tobago, and parts of the Caribbean have a vast population of Tamils, and the Thaipusam festival is brought in with a lot of enthusiasm.

One of the main ceremonies of the Thaipusam festival is Kavadi Attam, or the ceremonial self-sacrifice dance, which is a wonder to look at. Interpreted in different ways in various geographies, the Kavadi Attam, as the name suggests, is one of self-sacrifice, although ceremonial. Being one of the significant rituals of the Thaipusam festival, the name is derived from "Kavadi," which means "Burden." The devotees perform this ceremonial dance to transfer all their burdens and difficulties onto the lap of God. Believers also believe that if one does this ritual during the festival, all demonic forces within you would be expelled. However, those who wish to participate in this dance must pray and fast regularly until a couple of days before the festival begins.

Devotees believe one should do this before the celebration, as it's necessary to be cleansed of all evil before facing Lord Murugan. Therefore, this event is a celebration where believers show their faith by piercing their bodies and faces with metal screws. After the piercing ceremony, they pick up the Kavadi and travel barefoot for four kilometres to receive the Lord's blessings.

Attractions and Religious Activities

If you visit any countries celebrating Thaipusam 2023, you will be treated to several spectacular religious activities. In India, Thaipusam will be celebrated in all the Lord Murugan temples. Still, the Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, located in Palani, Tamil Nadu, will be the centre of all the festivities. The festivities begin early in the morning with the ceremonial bathing of the Lord Murugan statue. A long procession follows, with the more faithful carrying the Kavadi to atone for their sins. According to a myth, most old Hindu temples would be built atop high ridges and mountains, and access was provided only when the devotees passed specific 'tests' of resolve.

Another unique practice that one can see during the Thaipusam 2023 would be the participants' fierce resolve and "mind over matter" attitude. While meals consist of only fruits and milk, the processions will see devotees piercing their bodies with sharp spears and hooks. Some will dance with these pierced spears while singing "Vel Vel Murugan," The belief is that Lord Murugan fashioned a spear to fend off evil from humanity.

You will also see people cracking coconuts on the streets, which is considered an auspicious event by most Hindus. In some parts of South-East Asia and almost all of India, the breaking of the coconut symbolizes humility. You might even see some Caucasians celebrating as well to fulfil their vows.

Getting to the Places of Celebration

Thaipusam is celebrated in many places in South India, but in Tamil Nadu, it's considered a major festival. Devotees worldwide flock to the Temple of Palani in Tamil Nadu during Thaipusam, and the best way to reach it here is by road. You can experience the happiness and activities of Thaipusam 2023 like never before with redBus. With an extensive collection of travel options along so many different routes, you are sure to have a hassle-free time booking a bus online on redBus during the Thaipusam festival.

You can share your experience with the redBus customer service, who will solve all your travel issues and ensure you travel safely and comfortably. Furthermore, with several discount vouchers and coupons distributed during the festival, one can book a ticket to many Lord Murugan temples in Tamil Nadu and South India with redBus.

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