Karthigai Deepam is the festival of lights and is one of the major festivals of the Hindus in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It is a wonderful function with all lamps lit in rows brightening the space around and making the people beam with happiness and joy. It is celebrated on poornima day in the month of Karthigai with the star Karthigai falling on the day.
Karthigai is celebrated with rows of lights sparkling through wicks in lamps. It symbolizes the purification of our inner being by burning ego that resides within our being. When the lamp burns oil through wick for lighting itself, it is similar to our ego being burnt inside with the spiritual being awakened to light. So, we celebrate this festival to brighten our inner being and drive away the darkness of our negative elements like ego by lighting lamps at home. It also wards off the evil forces that stay around us.
There is a story behind celebrating Karthigai peruvizha .Lord Muruga, the second child of Lord Shiva was born of the third eye of Lord Shiva and was born as six babies nurtured by six Karthigai nymphs who took care of the children till Goddess Parvathi united all the six babies into one child with six faces and 12 hands. Karthigai Deepam is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Muruga and the six nymphs received the blessings of immortality as granted by Lord Shiva and they shine in the sky as a group of stars even today.
It is also a form of worship of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared as an endless flame of light before Lords Vishnu and Brahma who wanted to find His head and foot. While Vishnu in the form of a boar failed in his attempt to find the foot of Shiva, Brahma took the form of a swan and searched for the head of Lord Shiva. He came across a thazhamboo on the way and lied that he found the head. He was punished for his falsity with the curse that he will remain without any temple built individually for him.
Thiruvannamalai Maha Deepam is a large flame lighted on the day of Karthigai in Thiruvannamalai temple. At the top of the hill of the temple of Thiurvannamalai, they light a very big fireplace that shines as a large flame which is known as Thiruvannamalai Deepam and is considered as the holy deepam by the Hindus. Taking a dharshan of this deepam in person or on TV is considered as sacred and holy by the Hindus.
Karthigai Deepam is considered as a grand Tamil festival and is referred to as peruvizha in Aganannoru and the verses of Avaiyar. Women find it a grand occasion to beautify their houses with various types of lamps and decorate the houses with rangolis. Some sects of Hindus deem it a day that strengthens the bonding between brother and sister and thus celebrate it like Rakhi. Poriurundai, flowers, coconut are offered as neivedhyam on the day to Lord Muruga and Lord Shiva.
So, this year you are full of jubilance to celebrate this grand festival with a delighted heart that sings in glory of the beauty of lamps, their spiritual connotation and your strengthened bonding with your brother.