Thiru Karthigai is a grand festival that enlightens the hearts and souls of people apart brightening the space around. This year, it falls on December 2, Saturday.
Karthigai Deepam is the festival of lights and is one of the major festivals of the Hindus in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Thiru Karthigai is celebrated on Pournami in the month of Karthigai with the star Karthigai falling on the day. It is a wonderful function with all lamps lit in rows brightening the space around and making the people beam with happiness and joy.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Lord Shiva appeared as a huge flame of light on Karthigai Deepam. So, he is worshipped in the form of huge flame in temples like Thiruvannamalai on this day.
At the top of the hill of the temple of Thiruvannamalai, 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 darshan of this Deepam in person or on TV is considered as sacred and holy by the Hindus.
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.
कीटा: पतङ्गा: मशका: च वृक्षाः
जले स्थले ये निवसन्ति जीवाः|
दृष्ट्वा प्रदीपं न च जन्म भाजा:
सुखिनः भवन्तु श्वपचाः हि विप्रा:||
keeTAh patangAh mashakAh cha vrukshAh
jale sthale ye nivasanti jIvAh
drushTvA pradeepam na cha janma bhAjAh
sukhinah bhavantu svapachAh hi viprAh v
This sloka is a prayer to God to shower His blessings on all living beings who can see light.Let the beings upon whom the Karthigai light falls get relieved of their sins and of the cycle of birth and death.
Thus, Thiru Karthigai is a day of beauty, lights and spiritual significance. Let us celebrate it in a grand fashion and seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and Lord Muruga.