Karthigai Deepam

Karthigai Deepam

Discover divinity tucked away in the lights that lead you to this well-known Tamilnadu festival, Karthigai Deepam. This ancient festival which has been celebrated since ages is the festival of light, and is also being celebrated by the people of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka nowadays. 

When is Karthikai Deepam celebrated?

Karthihai Deepam is celebrated every year  in the Tamil month of Karthigai November–December), on the day of the full moon  (pournami tithi) and Karthigai Nakchathira coincides. Karthigai Deepam, sometimes referred to as Karthika Deepam, Thrikarthika, or Karthikai Vilakkidu, is a very significant and historic Tamil festival that is now widely observed in Kerala. References indicate that this festival was celebrated as far back as the Sangam Age, which lasted from from 200 BC to 300 AD.

Karthika month, which coincides with the festival of Diwali, is regarded as a very fortunate month and is when Karthigai Deepam festivities begin. An earthen lamp  is lit every day from the beginning to the end of the Karthika month. People light rows of agal vilakku, or earthen lamps, in their homes and temples on the day of Karthigai Deepam. 

What is Special about Annamalayar Deepam or Maha Deepam?

Karthigai Deepam is celebrated at Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswarar Swamy temple is the most famous one and popularly known as Karthikai Brahmotsavam. On Karthigai Deepam festival - lighting of Maha Deepam, a giant oil lamp lit on the Arunachala hill, is a main event at Arunachaleswarar temple, Tiruvannamalai town, Tamil Nadu. Around 25 lakh devotees, from India and foreign countries, are expected to visit the temple town. It has been a tradition for centuries across Tamil Nadu to light lamps in all Hindu homes after the Maha Deepam on this day.

Rituals during Karthikai Deepam

On this day, homes are washed and cleaned. To greet the worshiped deities, rice flour paste is used to create floral designs called "Kolams" in front of the dwelling.

Then, "agal" lamps which are also used as ornaments in Kolams - are set up in front of God.

Fasts are observed until dusk, and special foods are made to be consumed when the fast is broken.

Numerous lamps are used to beautify the entire property. Different lamp designs, such as the elephant-shaped Gajalakshmi vilaku and the Lakshmi vilakku, which is formed like a woman with her hands folded, are used to represent legendary stories.

History behind Karthigai Deepam

Lords Vishnu and Brahma were arguing over who should be recognised as superior, according to religious scriptures. In order to teach them a lesson and prove his mastery over everyone, Lord Shiva manifested as an infinite fire and challenged them to find the top and bottom of the fire. Brahma took on the shape of a swan and flew to the top of the fire, while Vishnu, who was Vishnu in the form of a hog, dove to the bottom. After their attempts failed, they both understood that Lord Shiva was the supreme being over everything. It's believed that Lord Shiva later took the form of Arunachala, a massive fire hill. Every year, a large lamp is lit with a sacred fire.

Another myth states that on Karthigai Deepam, Lord Muruga, who was raised by the Karthigai Pengal (six maidens), was born as six flames from Lord Shiva's third eye, raised as six adorable infants, and then combined by Goddess Parvati into a single boy with six faces known as Shanmuga.

Karthigai Deepam also commemorates Goddess Parvati's triumph over the evil Mahishasura by lighting lamps. The festival symbolises the material and spiritual victory of good over evil.

Importance of lightning lamps

Lighting lamps also has a spiritual significance on this day. The light in the lamp represents spiritual insight, which can fire the ego (wick) by eliminating ingrained behaviour, and the oil in the lamp symbolises our innate nature, which feeds the ego. The lamp's wick stands in for our ego (oil). The lighting of the lamps serves as a powerful symbol of good triumphing over evil. On Karthigai Deepam, people light oil lamps in their homes to welcome prosperity and good fortune into their lives as well as to ward off evil spirits and unfavourable energy.

What is special about Karthigai Deepam?

People make numerous preparations. Some of them, such as nel pori urundai and arisi pori urundai, are made of jaggery and puffed rice. People also make payasam, nei appam, adai, and adrisam in addition to these.

Where to Buy Karthigai Deepam items Online in UK?

In order to make your Karthigai Deepam successful, one of the leading grocery stores in the UK, Lakshmi Stores UK, offers a range of pooja supplies, including Mud Lamp,  Deepam oil, camphor, Beetle, camphor, Sambarani, Karpooram, sugar crystals, Match boxes, Dharabai Grass, Navadhaniyam, dry dates, and more.