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Kavady translates in Tamil language as a pole slung across the shoulder to evenly distribute the weight of whatever is being carried, usually in bundles on either ends of the pole. The carrying of kavady symbolizes the carrying of one’s burden and then resting it at the feet of the Lord.
Thai Poosam Kavady falls on the full moon day in the Tamil month Thai (January). The ten-day festival starts with hoisting of the flag. Daily rituals, abolitions and singing devotional hymns are held in honour of Lord Murugan. On the main day of the Kavady festival, devotees carry the Kavady from a distance away from the temple, preferable from a river, back to the temple. It is believed that the more effort and hardship applied when carrying the Kavady, the more benevolent Lord Murugan will be towards fulfilling his devotee’s needs. Devotees usually carry milk and honey on either end of their Kavadies. After entering the temple grounds the devotees carry their Kavadies three times around the temple. When they are inside the temple, the milk and honey are poured over the statue of Lord Murugan. The festival concludes with the de-hoisting of the flag.