THAIPPOOSAM KAAVADI

Thaippoosam Kaavadi Thiruvizha is a religious festival of prayers and sacrifices normally celebrated in January/February (Thai), when the full moon more or less coincides with the appearance of Murugap Peroumaan’s Star (Poosam).
With Chitirai Powrnami Kaavadi which is celebrated in April/May, it is among the most important religious ceremonies practiced by Mauritians whose ancestors hailed from Tamil Nadu.
Being a Public Holiday in Mauritius, it has no doubt acquired a national dimension. Not only Mauritians of Tamil origin participate in it but also some compatriots of other faiths.

RELIGION
Siddhanta Saivam or Saivism is an ancient religion not founded by any prophet or saint. It is the dominant religion of the Tamils. The latter believe in a unique God but worship Him through effigies and idols under various names within Lord Shiva’s
three-dimensional concept (Shiva, Ganesh, Muruga ), which is, so to say, similar to the Christian Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

LORD MURUGA
Lord Muruga is the Son of Lord Shiva, the Cosmic Dancing Nataraja. He is the God of Love and Compassion as well as that of Eternal Youth and Beauty, worshipped under numerous melodious names.
“Any great symbol becomes all things to all men, ages after ages it yields to such men treasures they find in their own heart.” [Dr Ananda K. Coomaraswamy]
Some sacred symbols associated with Lord Muruga -
Shakti Vel (lance) represents Supreme Knowledge and Wisdom. He used the Shakti Vel to write the sacred manthra “Aum SA RA VA NA BA VA” on the tongue of Saint Arunagirinaathar.
Seval (red cock) on His kodi (flag) embodies His Fighting Spirit and Victory.
Mayil (beautiful peacock), slayer of serpents, is His Oothi (vehicle), laying emphasis on the Conquest of Ego, Pride and Vanity.

KOYIL OR KOVIL (ABODE OF GOD)
“Koyil illarda ouril koudi yiroukka vendorm”    
(A Tamil does not live in a place where there is no temple).
N’habitez pas dans un village où il n’y a pas de kovil (Oulaga Nather)
“Prier au kovil est très bénéfique” (Avveyar)
It is therefore not a surprise to see so many kovils scattered throughout our country, including those on sugar estates.
It is to be noted that the first kovil dedicated to Lord Muruga, known as Dhandayouthaabani Swami Kovil, was built on Clemencia hill in the district of Flacq around 1855 by two Indian immigrants, namely Songority (a Tamil) and his wife Doya Kisto of Narainju, Mindapore.

FASTING
During the 10-day sacred period of fasting (Viratham), devotees (baktans) observe a strict code of discipline,  abstaining from all earthly pleasures and indulging entirely in meditations and prayers. They even sleep on the floor or on floor-mats. In so doing, they prepare themselves physically and spiritually to carry the holy Kaavadis – to the Glory of Lord Muruga!

FLAG HOISTING
Kodi Ettram marks the first day of fasting (Sunday 25.01.2015) when the flag (kodi) with Lord Muruga’s symbol, Seval (red cock), is hoisted on the Kodi Maram (pole).

FLAG LOWERING
Kodi Irrakam on the 11th day (04.01.2015) announces the happy ending of fasting and the triumphant return of devotees to normal life as better human beings – of course, with the blessings of Lord Muruga!
 On Kaavadi Day ( 03.02.2015 ) –
With our whole heart, let us all chant devoutly the divine hymn:-
“Vetri Vel Muruga Noukkou Arogara”!
(Hail, O Muruga of the Victorious Vel!)
And with all our heart, let us wish all Mauritians a “Very Pious Thaippoosam Kaavadi Thiruvizha!”