It is not uncommon to note that anything that has been popularised over time, usually has some sort of mythology attached to it. There are several different mythological explanations or beliefs linked to the Thaipusam festival and it would be interesting and certainly beneficial for your child to be aware of some of these myths.
- One legend mentions a mighty demon named Tarakasuran being pursued and eventually destroyed by Lord Muruga. This demon was said to be mischievous and caused many problems by misusing his power. Lord Muruga destroyed the demon on a day known as Poosam Nakshatra in the Tamil month of Thai. A celebration then took place to rejoice the death of the menacing demon, aptly naming the day Thaipusam. In Murugan temples all over the world, this special day is celebrated with anticipation and awe.
- There is a legend that shows the deity Shiva passing on a special mantra to Parvati. Lord Muruga happened to be eavesdropping and this angered Parvati who then put a curse on him. Afraid that the curse would not allow him to lead his normal life, Lord Muruga quickly offered some sort of penance that eventually pleased Shiva and Parvati who removed the curse. The curse was removed on a day known as Thai Poosam.
- Thaipusam, which is synonymous with the Kavadi, also originates from another popular myth, which is celebrated as a festival. In this myth, Lord Muruga is said to be on a quest to test the limits of a student studying under the Agasthya Sage. The student, who is determined to show his spiritual and physical achievements, does so by carrying a Kavadi. The student Idumban’s, show of courage and determination is repeatedly shown in those carrying Kavadis today.
- There is also a myth that is narrated to show Lord Shiva and Parvati engaged in designing and performing a celestial dance. This dance was showcased on a special day now known as Thaipusam. The dance was so beautiful and the movements fluid, that the festival was said to be a popular depiction of beauty and grace tempered with love. Thaipusam became a day where the gods all assembled to watch and be entranced by the movements of this beautiful dance.
- Lord Vishnu appearing to a river deity is another myth origin of the Thaipusam festival. The River Kaveri was constantly in competition with the River Ganga as the former felt the latter was unfairly getting all the praise and attention. The River Ganga became so important, that it gained a place on the veil of Lord Shiva. This distressed the River Kaveri so much that it decided to pray to Lord Vishnu for favour. Lord Vishnu appearance was on Thai Poosam day.
- Lord Shiva asked the Sage Agasthya to build two hillocks in a certain part on India. The Sage enlisted the help of his most prized student Idumdan, to take on this task, who in turn sought the help of a simple peasant boy. Unknown to Idumdan, the boy was actually Lord Muruga, and an argument ensued. Upon learning the truth, Idumdan pleaded for forgiveness and this was granted on the Thai Poosam day, hence the birth of the Thaipusam festival.
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