Karthika Deepam or Karthigai is a festival of lights and lamps. Every year it falls in the month of Karttikai according to the Tamil calendar. The festival is significant in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, and Kerala. In Kerala, however, the festival is called Thrikkarthika, which Keralites celebrate it to invoke Goddess Shakti.
How is KarthigaiDeepam Celebrated?
People clean their houses so they can welcome the Goddess and God. They create Rangoli or Kolam in their courtyards, Puja room, hall, and terrace to make it look beautiful. There are different Rangoli colors available in the market, or they buy colorful chalk powder to make Kolam.
To give the event a more festive look, they put diyas and lights in the entire home. Illumination is the most important aspect of this festival as it wards off evil power and protects the family members from ill intentions of others. People also use these lamps to place on the Kolam to beautify them even more.
Devotees also observe fast on this day, during which they eat nothing solid. It is believed that observing fast during KarthigaiDeepam enhances the sanctification of the Goddess even more. People visit temples on this day and offer their prayers to their idols. In Andhra Pradesh, people also light up a lamp having 365 cotton wicks in it.
People cook a feast to enjoy with the family. They prepare sweets or buy them from shops and distribute it among their families and neighbors. Children burst crackers, and everyone becomes joyous during the celebration.
The Legend Behind Karthigai Deepam
The Legend behind Karthigai Deepam is that once Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu were arguing about who is more powerful. The argument went on and didn’t seek an end. Later, Lord Shiva, to make peace with the matter, entered this argument, and they ask both Lords to find out where his feet and head are situated. Lord Shiva put the condition that whoever would find Lord Shiva’s feet or head would be superior to others.
Both Lord changed their avatars and went to find out the head and feet of Lord Shiva. Even after days and months, they couldn’t find the end. However, Lord Brahma tried to create the deception and lied to Lord Shiva, which Shiva found out. Shiva then cursed Lord Brahma that there would be no temples of him on the Earth. That is why there are no temples of Lord Brahma on Earth, and no one worships him.
However, after asking both Lords to find the end, Lord Shiva turned into the fire on the hill of Thiruvannamalai. That is why the festival is also known as Annamalai Deepam, and on the hill, a torch is always lit to signify the Jyoti Roop of Lord Shiva.
Some people also celebrate the festival by lighting up the diyas and lamps for the whole month of Karttikai. They celebrate both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in their homes and by going to the temples as well. Some devotees also observe the fasting for a full month during which they don’t eat anything solid except the food that is appropriate for fasting. Some devotees consume one meal a day, and that meal should be vegetarian. No one touches non-veg food until the month gets over!
In the Karthigai month, people take a bath daily and early in the morning. They wear clean clothes and read Kanda Puranam. They practice thinking good deeds and speaking softly while staying away from unfitting thoughts. In the regions of South India, this is one of the significant festivals of Hindus.
This year Karthigai Deepam will be celebrated on 29th November. To start with the Puja, one must start it in the evening or, as per the Muhurta decided. Generally, the Puja can be started at 5.30 pm by doing the neivedyam, dhoop, and dheeparadhanai.
Light two lamps and place each in a rice and salt container while keeping the container’s lid open. The Lamps or vilakku should face East direction. Now you can arrange and light other lamps or diyas on the entrance using a matchstick.
There are various temples in Tamil Nadu where the Puja takes place at a grand level. Devotees must make their visit to any of these temples, such as Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswarar Temple, one of the most famous temples.
However, due to the present situation, if you find difficulties in visiting temples, you can always invoke the Lords in your home.