Thaipusam, also known as 'Thaipoosam' or 'Thaipooyam', is a festival celebrated by the Tamil community in India. The festival is celebrated on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February), usually coinciding with the Pushya star, known as Poosam in Tamil. This year, Thaipusam will be celebrated on February 5.Thaipusam festival is dedicated to the Hindu God Murugan (Kartikeya), the son of Shiva and Parvati. Murugan is the embodiment of Shiva's light and wisdom, and devotees pray to him to overcome obstacles
The name ‘Thaipusam’ is derived from two words, ‘Thai’, which is the name of the Tamil month and ‘Pusam’, which is the name of a star. On the day of Thaipusam, this star is at its highest point during the month of Thai, and the festival commemorates the victory of Lord Murugan.
In Kerala, the festival is also celebrated as 'Thaipooyam Mahotsavam' in 'Shree Subrahmanya Temple' in Alappuzha. The festival is celebrated also by the Tamil-speaking community in Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a Vel (divine spear), so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman and his brothers. Therefore, Thaipusam is a celebration of the victory of good over evil.
On the day of this festival, most devotees offer fruits and flowers of yellow or orange colour to Lord Murugan. Many devotees carry milk, water, fruits, and flowers on wooden or bamboo structures called 'Kavadi', which is covered with cloth and decorated with feathers of peacocks, the vehicle of Lord Murugan.