The Tamil Hindu community is observing the Thaipoosam festival at Thiru Subramaniyar Temple in Mangere, Auckland.
The festival is observed by conducting special puja for five-days from Saturday, January 12 to Friday, January 18 and the observing main event on Sunday, January 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Thaipoosam is celebrated every year according to the Tamil calendar, on the full moon day of the Thai month, which usually falls between January and February.
Thaipoosam is an important festival for the Tamil Hindu community living in different parts of the world. The festival is observed in Chennai- India, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Tamil speaking Hindus living across the globe.
The festival honours Lord Murugan, who is also known as Subramaniyan- the God of War, who represents youth and virtue. He is referred to as the son of Shiva, being worshipped predominantly in areas with Tamil influences, often referred to as the God of Tamils (Tamil Kadavul).
The festival is a commemoration of Murugan's victory over the evil Soorapadman.
Devotees also observe ‘Paal Kudam’ (carrying milk in an earthen pot) and ‘Kavada Festival’ (wooden stick carrying resembled carry burdens and sins of the devotee) as a part of the Thaipoosam festival.
The priest at Thiru Subramaniyar temple conducted special puja and abhishegam of the idol, and the temple received over 100 devotees for the puja during the one-week observance.
On the final day of Thaipoosam festival, devotees participating in the special puja will gather at the temple by 8:30 a.m. and do the puja till 9:30 a.m. The devotees will then carry the Paal Kudam (milk pot) around the temple and do the Kavadi dance in front of the deity as a resemblance relieving his burden in front of the deity.
The devotees will enter the temple around 10:30 a.m. and do the abhishegam with milk from the pot chanting mantras. By 11:30 a.m. the small deity will be decorated and carried around within the temple premises as a denoting the procession of a king looking after the well-being of his subjects.
By 12:30 p.m. the bigger deity idol will be decorated, and Aarti will be performed.
Devotees will get coconut water, rose water, milk, vegetables and fruits as a part of the whole special puja offering them as a gift to the deity.
Mahaprasadam will be served after the puja in the afternoon, and the fruits and other eatables will be distributed amongst the devotees at the temple.