Our annual Thai Poosam Kavady is one of the most auspicious prayer festivals in our tamil calendar which draws the biggest number of devotees to our temple. The Thai Poosam festival expresses our show of devotion to Lord Muruga. The Thai Poosam Kavady 2021 will commence on the 19/01/21 with the flag hoisting and the main day will be on the 28/01/21. The Melrose Temple committee has been planning a kavady festival which included the following : online kavady bookings; devotees divided into groups for daily kavady processions ; a limit on the no. of accompanying persons with kavady devotees; screening, registration for contact tracing and sanitisation on entrance of the temple; devotees will be conducting their own kavady washing and kavady abishegam with supervision; physical distancing while going around the temple and inside the temple ; demarcated seating for devotees and prepacked take-away meals for devotees. These are just some of the safety precautions that was to be implemented for the devotees attending the kavady in January 2021.
But as you are aware the Covid19 pandemic has affected many religious and business activities throughout the world and South Africa has not been spared it’s wrath. We are currently in its second wave of Covid19 infections. Following discussion and consultation with infectious disease experts whose opinion is that Gauteng will be in its surge and peak with the coronavirus infections by the latter part of January and early February. This will certainly pose a huge burden on the social and healthcare systems of our country. Further any gathering is a potential for super-spreading of the virus.
In view of this information, the temple committee has decided that to protect our devotee congregation the 2021 Thai Poosam kavady will be observed by the Guru and sthanigars only. This will be a “remote kavady”. By remote we mean, all the devotees who book online for kavady, paal kodum, piercings or pulling of chariot will have their names read out by Guru while offering milk during the abishegam for Lord Muruga. This decision was not an easy one as we are a Murugan temple with many devotees from far and wide whom flock to our temple around this period to receive our Lord Muruga’s blessings. Devotees are encouraged to observe the 10 day prayer at home, listen to the Skanda Shasthi kavacham daily and visit the temple individually should they wish to pray. The Kavady prayers will be live streamed via Zoom for devotees. The temple committee will constantly monitor the situation and should there be any change, the devotees will be informed via whatsapp notification and our website( www.melosetemple.org.za ).