Karthigai Deepam: The Festival Of Lights

India being a land of culture, glory, and tradition is famous across the globe for its festivals and colorfulness. Each state has its own set of festivals apart from the common festivals that are celebrated nationwide. When it comes to culture, antiquity and tradition in India, Tamil Nadu top the list. Being a land of temples, antique inscriptions and a land known for music, dance, and other art forms Tamil Nadu celebrates a number of regional festivals that have a lot of historic significance, in addition to upholding the culture and tradition of India. Thiru Karthigai is one such festival that is most popularly celebrated in the state.

What Is Thiru Karthigai Deepam?

Often referred to as the “Festival of Lights”, Thiru Karthigai Maha Deepam 2016 – The festival of lights. Being considered as the extension of Diwali, the festival falls on the Pournami (Full moon day) in the Tamil month of Karthigai. Throughout the month of Karthigai, oil lit lamps are placed outside the house. On the Thiru Karthigai Deepam festival, the entire house is filled with the brightness of the oil lit lamps.

Story Behind Karthigai Deepam

According to the Hindu mythology, once Lord Brahma and Vishnu had an argument with each other because of their ego. Each of them claimed “I am the most superior in the world”, and was so engrossed in their argument that they forgot to fulfill their duties. To put an end to this big fight between the two Gods, Lord Shiva appeared in the form fire and gave them a challenge to face. He said, “Whoever finds the top or bottom of the fire is the most superior in the world”. Brahma took up the challenge first. He took the form of a bird, Annam and tried to locate the height of the fire. Vishnu appeared in the form of Varaha, a pig and tried to figure out the bottom of the fire. Since God is limitless in terms of size and power, both Brahma and Vishnu were unable to find the top or bottom of the fire. This made them realize that it was their ego that made them feel that they are most superior in the world. Both Brahma and Vishnu surrendered to Lord Shiva and prayed to him. Lord Shiva appeared to them in his original form. This day on which Lord Shiva took the form of a pillar of fire is Thiru Karthigai or Karthigai Deepam.

Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a hill, Arunachala at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. Both Arunachala and Thiruvannamalai mean “the holy hill of fire”.  The Shiva Lingam at the temple is known as Agni linga, a linga in the form of fire. A number of small lamps are lit in the temple on the occasion of Karthigai Deepam as a symbolic representation of miniature versions of the main Agni lingam. A number of devotees from all over the country come to Thiruvannamalai every year to witness the glorious occasion of Karthigai Deepam.

According to another mythological tale, Lord Muruga appeared in the form of six flames that came out of Lord Shiva’s eyes. These flames took the form of six babies that assembled in the ‘Saravana Poigai’ lake. On Karthigai Deepam, these babies were brought together by Parvati, and thus Lord Muruga is also worshiped during this occasion.

Significance Of Karthigai Deepam

Being an ancient festival celebrated predominantly in Tamil Nadu, Karthigai Deepam has its own significance, both spiritually and scientifically. From the spiritual perspective, the lamp light is considered to be an individual. The wick of the lamp represents the ego, and the oil, the inborn nature that flourishes the ego in us. The flame represents the infinite spiritual knowledge that can burn the ego (the wick) by removing the inborn nature.

Apart from this, light represents the victory of the good over the evil. People wish to stay away from the evil and bring their lives prosperity and peace. Lamps provide the power to get over the fear and bring good hopes and success in one’s life.

From the scientific perspective, Karthigai Deepam usually falls during the month of November, during which cold weather prevails and the sun sets earlier than usual. Hence, lamps are lit inside and outside the houses to warm up the houses and keep the houses bright during the evenings.  In addition to this, lighting oil lamps avoid mosquitoes and other insects that may spread diseases.

Karthigai Deepam Pooja Procedure

Karthigai Deepam is celebrated for three days. The first day is called Appa Karthigai, the second is known as Vadai Karthigai and the final day is called Thiru Karthigai. The last day is the main part of the festival and the main pooja is performed on this day.

Prior to the Pooja, the houses are cleaned and washed completely. The entrance, as well as the interior of the house, is decorated with maa kolams (rangoli patterns drawn with wet rice flour). The festival begins with fasting, that continues till the sunset. In the afternoon, special dishes are prepared for offering to the lord (neivedhyam). In the evening, the entire house is lighted with beautiful oil lamps. Each of the lamps has its own mythological significance . The various lamps lit during the occasion include Lakshmi Vilakku, Kuththu Vilakku, Gajalakshmi Vilakku and Aanai Vilakku.

Aanai Vilakku has a greater significance, as it rejuvenates the bond between a brother and a sister. A mythological tale tells why an Aanai Vilakku is lit during Karthigai Deepam, and what its significance is. Once there lived a king who had only one daughter, who loved an elephant that grew with her. The princess considered the elephant to be her brother. After she was married, she missed her brother a lot. Hence, in the remembrance of her brother elephant, she lit an elephant lamp and offered Milagu adai, adirasam, vella seedai and Pori urundai as neivedhyam to the lord.

Karthigai Deepam Slokas

“Shubham Karoti Kalyaannam-Aarogyam Dhana-Sampadaa
Shatru-Buddhi-Vinaashaaya Deepa-Jyotir-Namostute”

“Deepa-Jyotih Para-Brahma Deepa-Jyotir-Janaardanah
Deepo Haratu Me Paapam Deepa-Jyotir-Namostute”

Karthigai Deepam Recipes

There are a number of special recipes that are prepared for the festival.  Apart from lighting the lamp, people also make some sweets and snacks like nei appam, pori urundai, mavilakku, vella seedai , milagu adai and so on for neivedyam.

Karthigai Deepam Greeting:

Let this Karthigai Deepam brings happiness and joy. On this auspicious occasion of Thiru Karthigai wish all your friends with this beautiful collection of Karthigai Deepam wallpapers.

Karthigai Deepam Festival Video In Thiruvannamalai  – 2015