MIRI: Thaipusam marks the holy month for Hindus, and like every ritual and tradition, it carries an intriguing legend behind it.
‘Thaipusam’ for example, was celebrated on Feb 3 of ‘Thai’ and ‘Poosam natchatiram’ (under the full moon in the 10th month of the Hindu calendar).
According to ancient rites, there was a Murugan devotee called ‘Idumban’ who would scale a hill to perform the daily ‘abishegam’ (bathing ritual) for Lord Murugan.
Without fail everyday, he would bring milk and water to Lord Murugan in two containers carried on a pole across his shoulder.
Then one day, in the month of Thai Poosam natchatiram, Murugan appeared and gave a sacred souvenir to Idumban for his pure dedication and sacrifices.
On noticing the phenomenon, people in the village emulated the example of Idumban and likewise offered Murugan milk, lemon juice, yogurt and sugar cane juice to seek his blessings in return.
“That is the meaning and legend behind the festival,” Miri Hindu Society president Selvaraj Grapragasem explained to The Borneo Post recently.
On that auspicious day, most devotees of Lord Murugan offered him fruits and flowers of yellow or orange – his favourite colours and to adorn dresses of the same hues.
Many devotees carry milk in pots called ‘paal kudam’ on their shoulder to Murugan temples far and near. Some also carry a wooden or bamboo structure known as ‘kavadi’ which is covered with cloth and decorated with feathers of the peacock – the vehicle of Lord Murugan.
In Miri on Feb 3, Selvaraj said some 35 devotees joined in the procession at 7.30pm to carry a pot of milk used to bathe their Lord. They walked round in the temple three times while chanting the hymn ‘Vel… Vel… Vetri Vel’, then offered the milk to Murugan with prayers.
Selvaraj was happy to note that more than 80 Indian devotees joined in the prayers although it was a working day.
The festival celebration was held at the Kamini Durga Easwari Amman – a sacred worshipping place for Hindus at the top floor of Raghavan Building in Brooke Road here.