Thai Poosam

Did You Know

Majority of Jaffna residents are Shaivites. Their religion is a sect of Hinduism called Shaivism or Saivam. Thai Poosam is a Shaiva festival. This day is significant to 2 major gods of Hinduism – Lord Shiva and Lord Kandan. Lord Kandan is often referred to as Katharagama Deviyo in other parts of the Country. On orders of his father, Lord Shiva, Lord Kandan is said to have vanquished evil demons on this day. And as such, Thai Poosam is observed as an auspicious day for new beginnings. A girl-baby’s earlobes are pierced in preparation to adorn ear-studs. This signifies the baby’s initiation into its gender identity female. Also toddlers are taught the Tamil alphabets by writing on newly harvested rice. This is their initiation to life-long learning. Kavadi dance is a form of religious dance that is specific to Lord Kandan’s devotees. The devotees carry a Kavadi , which is an artifact that is adorned by peacock feathers, on their shoulders as they dance to music. Kavadi dance can include body mortification and bodily suspension from hooks pierced through the devotee’s flesh.

On The Day

In the morning, visit the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple to watch the age-old reenactment of paddy harvest called Puthir Day. The Temple officials will ceremoniously set-off in a vintage Austin Cambridge car to the Temple’s rice fields in the village of Meesalai. A token of harvest is brought back in the same car. Enjoy some sweet pongal rice, which will be offered to all who visit the Temple on that day. At night, visit the historical Innuvil Kandaswamy temple to partake in the Mancham Festival. This ancient temple is said to have the World’s first Hindu Golden Chariot or Mancham. This 108-years old Chariot is often referred to as the Ullaga maha mancham or the World’s largest Golden Chariot. At this site, you’d also be able to see Kavadi dance of the devotees.

Get Involved

Visit these locations with a simple offering of clean, fresh flowers. Partake in the colourful processions and observe the unique events. Help move the heavy Golden Chariot of Innuvil, by pulling its thick coirropes. Why not try your hand on a bit of Kavadi dance? Body mortification is not for everyone, but a unique scene to view.