Thai Poosam celebrated in Malaysia with spiritual fervour

Thousands of Hindus in Malaysia gathered in temples across the country today to celebrate Thai Poosam. Some of them pierced their skin with hooks and skewers to show their devotion to Lord Muruga. Thai Poosam marks the day when Lord Muruga's mother -- the Goddess Parvathi -- gave him a powerful lance to fight demons.

Devotees thronged the Batu Caves complex outside Kuala Lumpur in large numbers as incense and drums filled the air. Many had trekked for hours to reach the popular pilgrimage site before the final arduous climb up 272 steps to reach the temples set in caves.

They offered kavadis to the Almighty. Thai Poosam is a festival celebrated by the Tamil and Malayali communities on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai, usually coinciding with Pushya star, known as Poosam in Tamil and Pooyam in Malayalam.

It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, Canada and other places where ethnic Hindu Tamils reside as a part of the local Indian diaspora population such as Réunion, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica and the other parts of the Caribbean.

It is a national holiday in many countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius. In certain states of Malaysia and in the nations of Sri Lanka and Mauritius it is a government and a bank holiday.