Karthigai Deepam is a Hindu festival which is celebrated mainly by Tamil Hindus and synonymous with lights. The day of Karthigai Deepam is fixed based on Tamil Solar Calendar and falls in the month of Karthikai (between November and December) when Karthigai Nakshathra prevails. This is also the time when Karthigai Nakshatra coincides with Pournami, the full moon day in the month of Karthikai and observed in most Hindu homes and temples.
Lord Shiva appeared as an endless 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 Shiva’s Head and Feet. Lord Vishnu took the form of a Varaha 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 Thazambu, a flower, learnt from it that it had been floating down for thirty thousand years from Lord Shiva’s head. He seized upon this and claimed to Lord Shiva 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 Shiva appeared as a flame, this day is called Maha Karthigai Deepam.
This day is celebrated grandly in Thiruvannamalai. Hindu people respect and have complete faith on Lord Shiva. They consider him as the protector of the world and pray to him at all times. They have a strong faith that HE will see to all their sorrows and will take great care of them. He will try to fulfill all the desires of the humans coming to him with prayers. Sri Annamalaiar Hill is considered as Lord Shiva’s great presence in Thiruvannamalai. People believe that the huge light lit during 5 pm will make people close with Lord Shiva on Karthigai Deepam. Lord Shiva will shed all his blessings during this special time of the year. He is rigidly worshipped during this time. Great care is taken to light the huge fire in this place. People gather around the place and call in the name of Shiva to put an end to all the troubles and bring in peace in every life.
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. The wick in the lamp symbolizes our ego, the oil in the lamp denotes our inborn nature that cultures the ego and the flame signifies the spiritual wisdom that can inflame the ego by burning out the innate behavior. Therefore, the lighting of the lamps represents the victory of good over evil. On Karthigai Deepam, people light lamps in their houses to usher in prosperity and auspiciousness in their lives and ward off negativities and evil forces. Let us also worship the God, by lighting lamps in our houses.