Karthigai Deepam is a festival of lighting celebrated in Tamil Nadu by lighting up lamps all over the place. The lamps or diyas signify holiness, which brings positivity and wealth into a household. The entire house is decorated with mango leaves, flowers, and lamps, and people invoke Lord Shiva on this day.
The festival is celebrated during November and December months for ten days. During this period, the moon appears with the six-star constellation called Karthigai. The celebration always happens on the day of Pournami (Full moon).
The Legend Behind Karthigai Deepam
It is believed that to destroy the egoistic nature of Lord Brahma and Vishnu, Shiva took a test of them. He transformed into a fire linga and asked them to find the top or bottom of this fire. Since Shiva is endless, these Lords couldn’t find the end or beginning of the fire. At last, when they prayed to God Shiva and realized their mistake, Shiva appeared in his true avatar.
Since that day, to remember the endless Fire Linga of Shiva, people celebrate Karthigai Deepam. By worshipping Lord Shiva on this day, he destroys the egoistic nature of a human and blesses him with utmost positivity while keeping away any evil spirits or influence.
While searching for Shiva’s beginning and end, Lord Vishnu admitted that he couldn’t find them. Lord Brahma, however, who took the form of a swan, made a false claim that he has seen Shiva’s head. Got furious at the false statement, Shiva cursed Brahma that he would never have his temple on Earth. That is why, as per this legend, there are no temples of Brahma in the world.
However, to celebrate Lord Shiva’s fire avatar and to respect his supremacy, the day is celebrated as karthikai maha Deepam.
The Grand Celebration of Karthigai Deepam
The celebration goes for ten days, where every day holds significance and is celebrated in a particular way.
On the first day, the hosting of the flag happens, which signifies the commencement of the festival. In the morning and night, they carry Lord Arunachaleswarar, the Linga form of Shiva, on a silver vehicle for the march. Along with Shiva, Lord Ganapathi, Lord Murugan, Lord Sandeswarar, Lord Arunachaleswarar, and Goddess Parvathi are also carried on different vehicles.
On the second day, Lord Panchamoorthigal comes on the Indira Vimanam or vehicle.
The third day is about commencing the ceremony with the Lord Panchamurthigal on the Simha vahana.
On the fourth day, the pageant of Lord Panchamurthigal happens in which he gets seated on kamadhenu vahanam. Besides, the tree called Karpaviruksha also gets placed along that is considered to grant all the wishes of devotees.
The fifth day is about getting Lord Panchamoorthigal seated on the silver rishaba vahanam, which looks spectacular. It remains 25 feet tall on the vahana, and an umbrella with about 17 feet is carried along.
On the sixth day, Lord Panchamurthigal is seated on the silver chariot that is adorned beautifully, which makes the whole scene magnificent.
On the seventh day, a Maha ratham has so much width that it covers the whole path. Lord Panchamurthigal starts the procession on the Maha ratham. This ratham is made of pure wood that stays strong.
On the eight-night, Lord Panchamurthigal goes out in procession on the huge horse vahana. The magical thing about this horse is that all four legs of the horse stay in the air and don’t touch the ground. This also looks spectacular to witness!
On the ninth day, Lord Panchamurthigal goes out on parade while being seated on Kailasa Vahanam.
On the tenth and final day, the celebration starts at around 4 in the morning, and they lit the Deepak called “Bharani Deepam.” In the evening time around 6, the Maha deepam is lit on the top of the hill, the Arunachaleswar.
After the Maha Deepam, the Moist Black Ash remains also known as “Mai.” This ash that is a result of the lighting of the Ghee & Cotton Wick is distributed as a form of Prasadam among the devotees.
The sacred event can be witnessed every year on this holy hill where devotees from different regions of Tamil Nadu reach and witness this festival of lights and cheerfulness.