Karthigai – The Month of Lamps • Karthigai is essentially a festival of lamps. The lighted lamp is considered an auspicious symbol. • It is believed to ward off evil forces and usher in prosperity and joy. While the lighted lamp is important for all Hindu rituals and festivals, it is indispensable for Karthigai.
Spiritual Significance of Karthigai Deepam • The functioning of lamp implies a great spiritual notion. • The wick in the lamp symbolizes our ego and the oil that is used to light the lamp denotes our innate nature that is responsible for the ego to thrive. • The flame, the spiritual knowledge has the capacity to blaze our ego, the wick by emptying our innate tendencies. • Lights symbolize the victory of the good over the evil. People try to make their homes protected from evil eyes and evil forces.
Story Behind Karthigai Deepam • According to the Hindu mythology, once Lord Brahma and Vishnu had an argument with each other because of their ego. • Each of them claimed “I am the most superior in the world”, and was so engrossed in their argument that they forgot to fulfill their duties. • To put an end to this big fight between the two Gods, Lord Shiva appeared in the form fire and gave them a challenge to face. He said, “Whoever finds the top or bottom of the fire is the most superior in the world”. • Brahma took up the challenge first. He took the form of a bird, Annam and tried to locate the height of the fire. • Vishnu appeared in the form of Varaha, a pig and tried to figure out the bottom of the fire. • Since God is limitless in terms of size and power, both Brahma and Vishnu were unable to find the top or bottom of the fire. This made them realize that it was their ego that made them feel that they are most superior in the world. • Both Brahma and Vishnu surrendered to Lord Shiva and prayed to him. Lord Shiva appeared to them in his original form. This day on which Lord Shiva took the form of a pillar of fire is Thiru Karthigai or Karthigai Deepam.
Another Story • According to another mythological tale, Lord Muruga appeared in the form of six flames that came out of Lord Shiva’s eyes. • These flames took the form of six babies that assembled in the ‘Saravana Poigai’ lake. • On Karthigai Deepam, these babies were brought together by Parvati, and thus Lord Muruga is also worshiped during this occasion.
Celebration of Karthigai Deepam • Karthigai Deepam is celebrated for three days. • The first day is called Appa Karthigai, the second is known as Vadai Karthigai and the final day is called Thiru Karthigai. • The last day is the main part of the festival and the main pooja is performed on this day.
Prior to the Pooja, the houses are cleaned and washed completely. The entrance, as well as the interior of the house, is decorated with maakolams (rangoli patterns drawn with wet rice flour). • The festival begins with fasting, that continues till the sunset. In the afternoon, special dishes are prepared for offering to the lord (neivedhyam). • In the evening, the entire house is lighted with beautiful oil lamps. Each of the lamps has its own mythological significance . • The various lamps lit during the occasion include Lakshmi Vilakku, KuththuVilakku, GajalakshmiVilakku and AanaiVilakku.
Let this Karthigai Deepam brings happiness and joy. Light the happiness through Lamps from Puja Celebrations. Click here to explore more.