Thirukarthigai/Karthigai Deepam comes on the Tamil month Karthigai on Pournami day (Full moon day). On the Thirukarthigai/Karthigai Deepam day the whole house is decorated with the oil lamps. Thiruvannamalai is famous for Karthigai Deepam.
Karthigai Deepam is a typical festival of lights of the southern part of India and is an extension of Deepavali festival. This festival is similar to Raksha Bandhan where the “Sisters pray for their brothers well being’ and the holy light removes the darkness from our heart. Throughout the month lamps are lit in the front of the house in the evening.
Beautifully lit lamps are found all around the home to bring in happiness to the home. This festival occurs during the full moon day with the six star constellations called Karthigai.
Story behind Karthigai
Once Brahma and Vishnu due to the ego started arguing with each other, “who is the greatest”. Both claimed to be the greatest, instead of doing their duty. At that time the God Shiva appeared in the form of fire and told them whoever finds the top or bottom of the fire is the greatest. Brahma took the form of Annam (a bird) and tried to find the top of the fire pillar. Vishnu took the form of Varaha( giant pig) and tried to find the bottom of the fire. And all their efforts of the both of them were vain. When both of their egos went down and they prayed to the God, He appeared before them. The day in which the God appeared as fire is celebrated as Karthigai Deepam.
Lord Shiva appeared as a hill at Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. Shivalingam in this temple is called Agni Lingam. The tiny lamps lit during the Karthigai festival (Karthigai Deepam) are believed to be the miniature replicas of the fire Lingams. First day of this festival is “Bharani Deepam” and the second day is “Thiru Karthigai”.
According to the Tamil belief, People believe that Lord Shiva will appear on Thiruvannamalai hills and people celebrate by lighting a huge fire on the top of the hill. People chant saying
It is actually a vibrating moment for each devotee to watch the happening and go GIRIVALAM considering the hill as Lord Shiva. The lighting of the flame on the hill starts mostly at 5 pm in the evening.
Women clean their houses and lit the lamps once the Karthigai deepam is lit. The home looks like heaven with oil lit lamps everywhere. Childrens burst crackers and celebrate the festival on the day.
Click for Shiva Sloka that can be recited during karthigai Deepam
Click for recipes of karthika deepam
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