Karthigai Deepam is one of the most important festivals in the state of Tamilnadu and other parts of South India which is observed on the day of Karthigai Pournami when Karthigai Nakshatra prevails. This annual festival celebrated across India in different names such as Karthigai Deepam or Trikarthika or Karthikai Vilakkidu, the festival which usually falls on the full moon day of Tamil month Karthigai, that generally falls between Mid-November and Mid-December. This year it is celebrated on 29th November 2020.
References for Karthigai Deepam festival is found in the Sangam Age Literature “Agananooru”. The poems of the great Tamil poet “Avvaiyar” also talk about this festival, referred to as “Peruvizha”, reinstating that Karthigai Deepam is one of the oldest festivals celebrated by Tamil people since time immemorial.
Karthigai is believed to be a very auspicious month with a lot of religious festivities, poojas and rituals and most of the rituals are dedicated to Lord Muruga, the most beloved God of Tamil people, across the world. Karthigai Deepam symbolizes the birth of Lord Muruga and this day is celebrated in a very grand manner. Philosophically, Karthigai Deepam drives away the fear and hurdles in one’s life and shows the path of victory; Good wins the evil. Socially, this festival boosts the local economy of the potters who don’t have any business during the heavily raining days of November and December, as Karthigai Deepam is celebrated with lots of mud lamps, which is a customary ritual.
Karthigai Deepam festival has a direct reference to Tiruvannamalai and the huge temple dedicated to Lord Siva, housed in the name of Lord Annamalaiyar. Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswar Temple is one of the five Pancha Bootha Stahls, representing the cosmic element Fire. Lakhs of people flock into the temple on this auspicious day to get the divine blessings of Lord Siva. The day dawns with the elaborate rituals and poojas. After this people make arrangements to carry a huge cauldron and kilometres long cotton cloths to the top of the mountain, which is the scenic backdrop for the temple.
It is a ten days’ festival at Tiruvannamalai and the tenth day is very significant. The entire city wears a festive look with the influx of devotees and tourists to witness the gorgeous celebrations of the Festival of Lights. Close to the time of sunset, the lights are lit at the top of the mountain with special poojas. The light is visible for kilometres of radius around and nowadays, with the advent of technology, people across the globe enjoy the celebrations with the live telecasts.
After this elaborate ritual, the processional deity of the temple Lord Annamalaiyar is taken on a procession around the temple, followed by thousands of devotees. With the end of the procession, the festival concludes.
Karthigai Deepam is not only for Tiruvannamalai, but, every temple and home in Tamilnadu celebrate this festival in a gorgeous manner. Rows of lamps are lit to decorate the houses and temples. Bronze lamps are also lit and decoratively arranged in the pooja room and near the front door. Colourful Rangolis can be seen everywhere, adding beauty to the festival. Karthigai festival is also famous in Koneshwaram, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. All Siva temples festive mood
Puffed Rice Balls and a sweet made of wheat flour are the primary dishes that offered to God during the poojas, besides other delicious dishes relished by everyone.
The festival is celebrated grandly and colourfully during the evening by decorating various parts of the house and balcony with oil lamps. It is beautiful to look at the neighbourhood in Tamil Nadu, India after 6:30 PM. Stairs, walls and windows of every house can be seen as an ocean of light.
Festivals in India are the threads connecting the different regions, spiritually, economically and socially. The list of festivals is indeed long, celebrated around the year, rejuvenating the spirit of communal harmony in everyone.
Karthigai Deepam is one such festival, truly special to be witnessed, during your tour to South India.
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