Karthikai Deepam or Karthikai Vilakku is a South Indian festival which is usually observed in the month of Kartikkai according to the Tamil Calendar. The moon and the Pleaides or Karthigai star come in conjunction and the constellation seems like a group of six stars in the sky. This is celebrated as Karthigai Deepam.
Rukmini Krishnan today takes you down the legendary lane and speaks of the innumerable lyrical poetries that have written about the festival. The six stars are said to be the six celesttial nymphs who brought up the six babies in the Saravana tank. They were then joined to form the six faced Indian God Muruga. Thus Lord Muruga is also called Karthikeya
or the one brought up by the Karthigai celestial beauties. On this day, streets and houses are lit up with rows of deepam or oil lamps .
Another legend is that Lord Shiva came as a flame before Lord Brahma, the Indian God of Creator and Lord Vishnu, the Protector. They asked Lord Shiva to say who was the Supreme. Lord Shiva said the one who could find his head and feet is Supreme. Lord Vishnu became a boar and went into Eartth to find Lord Shivas feett. Lord Brahma became a swan and flew into the sky. Lord Vishnu gave up but Lord Brahma sw a piece of flower called Thazhambu. He knew this was a flower that had been floating for thirty thousand years from the head of Lord Shiva. He said that he had seen Lord Shivas head. When Lord Shiva realised that Lord Brahma was lying, he got angry and said that there would never be a temple for Lord Brahma in the world. Lord Shiva also said that the Thazhampu should not be used in his worship. the day Lord Shiva appeared as a flame is called Maha Deepam.
On this day rows of agal vilakkus or oil lamps are lit thus warding off all evil and spreading prosperity and joy.
The Karthigai Deepam is believed to be lit for bringing the bonds between sisters and brothers and all sisters light a lamp and pray for a better world. Sisters pray for the success of their brothers and light a lamp for the occasion. Karthikai month is very auspicious across India and this festival only endorses a bond that always was, and will be there.
The Karthigai Deepam in Tiruvannamalai is very famous and tourists throng to reach this area soon and have a view of the beautiful lights that are put up during this time.
This year Karthigai Deepam falls on November 17 this year so just enjoy and pray for a better morrow. On this day there is a huge procession in Thiruvannamalai. Lord Arunachaleswar and Unnamalai Amman would be taken out on a procession for the public to worship. Then the huge light would be lit on top of the Annamalai mountain. More than four lakh devotees throng to see this sight .
Thus the Karthigai Deepam is a festival of lights in South India and is an important occasion in this part of the world.