Teppothsavam or Theppotsavam, the float festival, is celebrated in Madurai on Magh Purnima (Thai Pournami), the Full Moon day in Thai Month of Tamil Calendar. In 2010, Madurai Float Festival date is January 30. On Thai Pournami day, the idols of Madurai Meenakshai and her consort Lord Sundareshwarar are taken in procession to the big lake called ‘Teppakolam. The idols are seated on a small jubilantly decorated boat called ‘Teppa and offered special pujas at Teppakolam lake.
Teppotsavam or Float Festival was originated in the 17th century by King Thirumala Nayaga who ruled the local kingdom. A popular story goes around about the lake is – King Thirumala Nayaga wanted to build a new palace for him. For that a great excavation was made by his workers and to make the excavation purposeful the King built a sixteen acre lake there at the same place and connected the same through the water of Vaigai River. He also built Lord Ganesha Temple in the middle. Since then, he initiated the ritual of Teppotsavam or Float festival commencement on his birthday which falls on Thai Pournami (As per other Hindu calendars it coincides with Magh Purnima).
Madurai Teppotsavam or Thai Pournami is also celebrated as Thaipusam by Tamil communities all over the world.