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Thaipusam or Thaipoosam (Tamil: தைப்பூசம், Taippūcam ?), is a festival celebrated by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February), usually coinciding with Pushya star, known as Poosam in Tamil. The festival is also observed among Keralites and is vernacularly called Thaipooyam (Malayalam: തൈപ്പൂയം). 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 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. In Singapore , it was previously a national holiday but was removed from the official list of national holidays to improve business competitiveness.
The word Thaipusam is a combination of the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Pusam (Tamil word for Pushya). This particular star is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan (aka Kartikeya) a Vel “spear” so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman and his brothers. It is also commonly believed that Thaipusam marks Murugan’s birthday; Some other sources suggest that Vaikhasi Vishakam, which falls in the Vaikhasi month (May/June), is Murugan’s birthday.
Source from Wikipedia