Thai Possam or Thai Pusam is a festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu in the month of Thai (January-February). The day falls on the full moon or on the day of star Poosam around Pounami. It is therefore called Thaipusam.
A number of legends exist explaining the significance of the festival. Some of them are mentioned below:
‘There was a demon named Tharakasuran who gave a lot of trouble to the rishis and saints. Lord Muruga was called by his parents Lord Shiva and Parvati and given the job of destroying the Asuran. Lord Muruga set off with the blessings of his parents to destroy the demon. He took with him twelve weapons, eleven of which were given by his father Lord Shiva and the ‘Vel’ given by his mother Parvati. Lord Muruga destroyed Tharakasuran on the Poosam Nakshatra day in the Tamil month of Thai and hence Thai Poosam is celebrated in all Murugan temples.’
A second legend says that Shiva was once ‘imparting a mantra to Parvati, Lord Muruga eavesdropped on them. For that error, Parvati laid a curse on him, in line with the rule that even a son, if erring, must be punished. To be redeemed from her curse, Lord Muruga offered hard penance at Thiruparankundram. Pleased with his penance, Shiva and Parvati appeared before him and lifted the curse. The day on which the curse was removed is Thai Poosam.’
Thaipusam is an occasion to worship Lord Muruga or Subrahmanya and is widely celebrated in all Murugan temples particularly at the Six Battle Camps or ‘Arupadai Veedu’ of Murugan.