Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami declares 'Thai Poosam' a public holiday

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami | File photo

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Tuesday said he has ordered public holiday for 'Thai Poosam,' a festival dedicated to worship of Lord Muruga.

Palaniswami said during his tour of several districts, people made representations, urging him to declare Thai Poosam a public holiday and they said in Sri Lanka and Mauritius the day was a holiday.

"Considering their representations, I have ordered declaration of Thai Poosam festival on January 28 (in 2021) a public holiday and for including it in the list of public holidays for the years to come," he said in an official release.

It may be recalled that devotees had for a long time requested the government to declare 'Thai Poosam' a public holiday.

Among the festivals in Tamil Nadu dedicated for the worship of 'Tamil God Lord Muruga,' Thai Poosam is very important, the Chief Minister said.

Besides Tamil Nadu, Thai Poosam is celebrated in neighbouring Kerala and in foreign countries like Srilanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius and Indonesia, he said in an official release.

Singapore, Malaysia and Mauritius is home to a big chunk of Tamil speaking people.

Thai Poosam is celebrated in Tamil month of 'Thai' (between Jan 14 and Feb 12) when the star 'Poosam' falls on full moon day.

According to Shaivite tradition, Thai Poosam festival commemorates the presentation of a spear, 'Vel' (in Tamil) to Lord Muruga by his mother Godess Parvathi with which he destroyed evil forces and the festival symbolised victory of good over evil.

The festival, considered auspicious is important in the Tamil, Shaivite calendar. Devotees celebrate the festival also to offer thanksgiving and like Tamil Nadu, it is hugely popular among the Tamil diaspora.

The declaration follows outrage among devotees over denigration of 'Kanda Sashti Kavacham' in praise of Lord Muruga by a group last year and a 'Vel' Yatra by the BJP, which claimed its campaign was to 'expose' those behind belittling the Kavacham.

The saffron party's Tamil Nadu unit chief L Murugan had time and again alleged that main opposition DMK had supported, the fringe group 'Karuppar Kootam,' which denigrated the hymn in praise of Lord Muruga, also hailed as Karthikeya and Subramanya.

Kootam also ran a YouTube Channel which was blocked subsequently following police action and its functionaries were arrested following complaints from BJP and other right wing groups over disparaging remarks on Kavacham.

Though the state wide BJP yatra was not allowed (Nov- Dec 2020) by the government due to coronavirus pandemic, the party held public meetings at multiple locations and courted arrest.

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