Durban — Greenwood Park Shree Ranganathar Temple hosted its annual Thaipoosam Kavady on Thursday.
The Thai Poosam Kavady Festival falls on the Thai Poosam every year – the full moon day in the Tamil month.
It is believed that on this day the full moon is in transit through the brightest star, the Poosam, in the zodiac sign of Cancer, and the planet Guru is the presiding deity. Since the festival occurs in the month of Thai (January/February) and on the day the full moon passes through the star Poosam, the event is called Thaipoosam.
Greenwood Park Temple secretary Ashlin Ellan said this year was the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic that they had a large-scale celebration.
“The temple had done the kavady festival annually despite the pandemic, on a smaller scale. However, more devotees feel comfortable that the pandemic has settled,” Ellan said.
“There are various reasons for carrying Kavady, but the two main reasons are to express thanks to Lord Muruga, or to ask Lord Muruga for help in overcoming a particular problem.
“Kavady represents our devotion. It is symbolic of the sacrifice we make, the suffering we undergo and the burden we must shoulder to show our devotion to God. No amount of agony and pain will hinder us from the path to atonement and pardon from God.”
Ellan said: “Kavady is derived from an event involving Idumban, one of the disciples of Sage Agasthiya, who was asked to bring two hills. The two hills represent the two forces inherent in all living beings, Siva and Sakthi. Idumban carried these hillocks with a Kavady, a beam across his shoulder with one hill suspended on each end. Midway through the journey he set his burden down in order to rest. When he was ready to resume, he found that the hill was entrenched in the land.
“As he prepared to forcibly uproot them, he saw Lord Muruga in the way and angrily asked him to move. Lord Muruga refused, Idumban was annoyed and a fight ensued where he was vanquished. When Lord Muruga, through his eternal mercy, revived and pardoned him, Idumban was transformed and he became Lord Muruga’s greatest devotee and carried the first Kavady out of absolute devotion to our Lord.”
It was for this reason that the Idumban Kavady always led the Kavady procession, and the festival was completed after the Shree Idumban prayer.
“The Kavady experience is amazing and it's the atmosphere during Kavady that I enjoy. It's a festival that celebrates God,” said Ellan.