Kaarthika Deepotsavam

india has numerous national, regional, religious and social festivities. This is not surprising considering the fact India is the land of cultural diversity. Colour, feasts, variety of prayers and rituals characterize all these festivals.

Karthika Deepam is a festival of lights, celebrated in the Malayalam month of Vrichikam or the Tamil month of Karthigai. It is celebrated on the Pournami, the full moon day of the month, which coincides with Karthika star. Small earthen lamps are lit at the entrances of every home, making them look like houses in a fantasyland. In some houses, they double the number of lamps every day from the day of Deepavali and this way, they end up with a number of lamps on the day of Kaarthika Deepam.

The legend goes that: Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu set out to find the head and the feet of Lord Shiva, respectively. Neither of them succeeds in their endeavor as the Lord takes a gigantic form. Lord Shiva takes the form of a jyothi (column of fire).

Special poojas are performed to Lord Muruga on this day as another legend goes thus Lord Muruga who took the form of six babies in a lake, had all the forms united by His Mother, Parvathi and hence his six faces or the “Shanmukha”.

The Karthika day begins with the cleaning of the houses, decorating the entrances of the homes with big and grand kolams. At dusk, small earthen lamps are lit and poojas offered. Then these small lamps are lit all over the houses, especially in the entrances and at the backyards. It is such a grand sight on the days preceding and succeeding the Karthigai deepam. Rows of sparkling earthen lamps outside every home, and the joyous burst of firecrackers mark this Festival of Lights.