Karttikeya’s Spear

- October 6, 2020


Illustration: Sanjhiya MayekarThe god of war Karttikeya, also known as Murugan in Southern India, wields a celestial spear as a weapon, one that was given to him by his mother, Parvati, so that he could defeat the demon Surapadman. The day on which the spear or vel was gifted to him is celebrated as Thaipusam by Tamilians all over the world. The word Thaipusam is a combination of ‘Thai’, which indicates the month the festival falls in, and ‘Pusam’, the Tamil word for the Pushya star which is at its highest point during the festival.

On this day, devotees carry large pots of milk on their back as an offering to the warrior god, after preparing for months in advance. It is regarded as a form of penance and Murugan is invoked to destroy all negative traits in oneself.

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