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Begins on 2023-Nov-26 at 03:35 AM
Ends on 2023-Nov-27 at 03:05 AM
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Karthigai Deepam is a light festival celebrated during the Full Moon evening in the Tamil month of Karthigai (mid-Nov to mid-Dec) when the Moon is in the star Krittika or Kirthigai. Astronomically, this star is known as Alcyone, and it is the brightest star in the Pleiades constellation. This festival is celebrated with more fervor in South India.
Karthigai Deepam is an ancient festival, which is celebrated for Lord Shiva and his son Muruga. Lighting of lamps forms an integral ritual of this festival. Lighting of lamps also has a spiritual significance on this day. The wick in the lamp symbolizes our ego, the oil in the lamp denotes our inborn nature that cultures the ego and the flame signifies the spiritual wisdom that can inflame the ego (wick) by burning out the innate behavior (oil). Therefore, the lighting of the lamps represents the victory of good over evil. On Karthigai Deepam, people light lamps in their houses to usher in prosperity and auspiciousness in their lives and ward off negativities and evil forces.
There are several legends associated with Karthigai Deepam.
According to sacred texts, Lords Brahma and Vishnu were discussing who was supreme amongst them. To teach them a lesson and prove his supremacy above everyone, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of an infinite fire and asked them both to find the top and bottom of the fire. Brahma took the form of a swan and flew towards the top, whereas Vishnu burrowed towards the bottom of the fire in the form of a boar. However, both of them failed in their efforts and understood the supremacy of Lord Shiva above all. It is believed that Lord Shiva later appeared as a massive fire hill called as Arunachala. To commemorate this mythological event, a holy fire is lit in a huge lamp, every year, on Karthigai Deepam.
According to another legend, on Karthigai Deepam, Lord Muruga who was born as six flames from the third eye of Lord Shiva and was nurtured by the Karthigai Pengal (six maidens) as six beautiful babies, who were unified by Goddess Parvati into a single boy with six faces called Shanmuga.
Karthigai Deepam also hails the victory of Goddess Parvati over the demon Mahishasura by lighting lamps. The festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil, both on spiritual and material fronts.
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On Karthigai Deepam, people clean their houses and decorate the doorstep with beautiful rangolis (drawings). Clay lamps of various sizes and patterns are lit around the house and on the rangolis to welcome the divine. Special delicacies are cooked and offered to the Lord during the Pooja. People celebrate the day by wearing new clothes, visiting their family and friends and bursting crackers with joy. Deepam is often considered as an extension of Diwali in South India.
On this auspicious day, a huge lamp is lit in a massive earthen lamp on the holy hill of Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. This occasion is celebrated with grandeur for ten days to revere Lord Shiva, who took the form of an infinite fire. Worshipping him on this day can destroy your ego, pride, greed and delusion.
Worshipping Lord Shiva and warrior-god Muruga on Karthigai Deepam can bestow the following benefits on you:
The sacred scriptures prescribe fire ceremony, Abishekam (hydration ceremony), Pooja/Archana (Light and Sound ceremony), Yantra and Mantra (special sounds) as the ways to offer your prayer to the divine. Out of these, fire ceremony is the most evolved spiritual technology on earth to connect with the divine beings. Participate in the remedial services to clear your karma and receive the blessings.