Thaipoosam Cavadee in Mauritius

Thaipoosam Cavadee is a public holiday observed on the full moon in the 10th month of the Tamil calendar, which places it somewhere between January and February each year on the Gregorian calendar. This holiday is observed in Mauritius—an African country with a large Hindu population.

Over half of the country’s population is Hindu, so this holiday is one of the most popular in the entire country. Ten days before the holiday, many followers prepare for it with a period of fasting that ends with a festival held on the holiday.

The History of Thaipoosam Cavadee in Mauritius

According to tradition, Thaipusam is said to have been created during a battle between Soorapadman and the Devas. The Devas were unable to defeat them, so they approached Shiva and asked for him to give them a mighty hero who could defeat their foe.

Shiva granted their request by creating Skanda—a mighty hero who would allow them to defeat their enemy. To commemorate this event, the Thaipusam Festival was created.

The act of devotion of the Cavadee has a special origin, according to legend. A reformed bandit named Idumban was asked to prove that he was indeed reformed. To prove his sincerity, he carried two mountain summits attached to a stick to his guru. While en route, Muruga met up with him and decided to test him.

Muruga disguised himself as a small boy and sat down on one of the mountain peaks to weigh it down. Although the weight was almost unbearable, Idumban did not give up his penance and carried on with his journey. Pleased with his devotion, Muruga blessed him. That is why devotees now carry the Cavadee on their shoulders to secure the divine grace of Muruga.

Observing Thaipoosam Cavadee in Mauritius

Ten days before the start of this holiday, and up until the day of the festival, devotees prepare themselves by fasting and offering prayers at local temples. People then head to a local river for a ritualistic cleansing. Also performed are sacred piercings as a sign of penance.

Where is it celebrated?
Mauritius (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
January 25 Thursday
Next year (2025)
February 11 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
February 5 Sunday