Thaipusam is an important festival dedicated to Lord Muruga or Kartikeya. It is observed in the Tamil month of Tai or Thai (Januray – February). Thaipusam 2012 date is February 7, Tuesday. It is celebrated mainly by the Hindu Tamil speaking community in India (especially in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh), Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka and in many other parts of the world.
Thaipusam, like most Hindu festivals, celebrates the victory of good over evil. It is believed that Goddess Parvati gave the ‘Vel’ (lance) to Lord Muruga on the Thaipusam day to vanquish the Asura (demon) army. Thaipusam is observed on the Pusam star in the Tamil month of ‘Thai’ (January – February).
Lord Muruga, son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, is also known as Skanda and Subrahamaniyan. He defeated Tarakasuran and other demons using the ‘vel.’ This is why most images of Lord Muruga have him carrying the powerful ‘vel.’
Thaipusam is mainly celebrated in the Tamil speaking world. In India, it is celebrated in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu and in parts of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Thaipusam celebration at the Batu Caves in Malaysia has become world famous. It is also celebrated with much fervor in Singapore.
Devotees carry Kavadi to Murugan temples on this day. Nowadays, Thaipusam celebrations garner international attraction for the body piercing with vel (lance) by devotees.