Friday, November 19, 2010

Karthikai Deepam

Karthikai Deepam is a festival of lights
celebrated by Tamil Hindus on the full moon day of Karthikai month (November/December)
. This occurs on the day when the moon is in conjunction with the constellation
Karthigai  and purnima. This constellation appears as a group of six
stars in the firmament in the shape of a pendant from the ear. Houses and
streets are lit up with rows of oil lamps (Deepam) in the evening of the
festival day.

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.  It is one of
the oldest festivals celebrated in the state, perhaps even before people
began celebrating Diwali  . Karthigai is a Tamil festival and is celebrated
by all the Tamilians  throughout the world.

Lord Siva appeared as a huge flame of light
before Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma , who each considered himself supreme
and said that the matter could be tested if the two could search for Lord
Siva's Head and feet. Lord Vishnu took the form of a  boar and delved
deep into the earth, Lord Brahma that of a  swan and flew towards
the skies. Lord Vishnu failed in his search and returned. But Lord Brahma,
chancing upon a piece of `thazhambu`, a flower, learnt from it that it
had been floating down for thirty thousand years from Lord Siva's head.
He seized upon this and claimed to Lord Siva that he had seen the other's
top. Lord Siva realized the falsehood and pronounced that there would never
be a temple for Lord Brahma in this world. He also interdicted the use
of the flower thazhambu in his worship. Lord Siva appeared as a flame,
this day is called Maha Dheepam.

Karthigai festival in Tiruvannamalai hills is
very famous. On Karthigai day, a huge fire lamp is lit up on the hill,
visible for several kilometers around the hill. The fire  is called
Mahabharanidheepam,. Hindu devotees visit here in huge numbers and pray
to god Shiva.

Happy Karthigai Deepam to all of you from

- vanangamudi

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