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Nov 30

Written by: Jayanthi
Monday, November 30, 2009

muruganKartikai Deepam Reason – Why do we observe Karthigai Deepam?

Donated by guest blogger, Abhilash


Kartikai Deepam is the lighting of lamps on the Krittika or Kartika Nakshataram day in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Karthigai month. Kartikai Deepam 2009 date is December 1. There are several reasons or stories behind observing Karthigai Deepam. A popular belief is that the day is the birthday of Lord Muruga. The lamps are also lit for a happy married life and for the well being of children in the family.

Kartikai Deepam and Lord Muruga

Lord Muruga, also known as Skanda, Subrahamaniya and Kartik, was born as six different babies to Lord Shiva after he awoke from the deep meditation after Goddess Sati’s death. The six babies were looked after by the Six Krittika stars and the six children were later joined to a single force by Goddess Parvati.

Krittika is the six starts or the Pleiades cluster – when Muruga joins them as a child they make seven stars. As Muruga was born as six different babies and later joined into one He is popularly known as Aarumugan in Tamil culture.

Lord Muruga as Kumaraguru Advising Lord Shiva

Another legend has it that the lamps lit symbolically represent knowledge, victory and peace. Muruga as Kumaraguru is believed to have taught the meaning of ‘OM’ to Lord Shiva. Thus the lamps lit on the day are in remembrance of sharing the ultimate knowledge of ‘OM.’ The knowledge of OM helps in enlightenment and emancipation.

King Bali Surrendering to Lord Vishnu

Another legend associated with Karthigai Deepam is that King Bali surrendered before Lord Vishnu. King Bali attained moksha by surrendering all his wealth and himself before Lord Vishnu. Special offerings made from puffed rice and beaten rice is believed to be due to this legend.

Thiruvannamalai MahaDeepam and Shiva as Lingodhabhava Murti

Another popular legend associated with that of Karthigai Deepam is that of Lord Shiva appearing in the form of Lingodhbhava – a pillar of fire with no end and beginning. This is celebrated at the famous Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleswar Temple as the Thiruvannamalai Deepam.

Other festivals and rituals on the day

Apart from this Lord Vishnu devotees observe Vishnu Deepam during the same period. Another ritual observed during the period is Shokka Pannai and Yaani Pandigai.


In neighboring Kerala, the day is observed as Thrikartika.


Thank you for sharing, Abhilash. See original post on Hindu Blog.


Related Posts/Sites:
Karthikgai Deepam: Festival of Lights        
Story of Lord Ganesha      
Onam and Diwali: A Mysterious Connection
    (Connects story of Lord Bali with both holy-days)

Interfaith Holidays December 2009  

**Photo in article by Jennifer Kumar of Chandanmariyamma Temple, enroute to Munnar, Kerala, India.     

Thank you for reading and spending your time on Alaivani.com.

Tomorrow, December 1, 2009 is Karthigai Deepam, 'the festival of lights'. These lights, one can say, are burning as thousands of 'birthday candles' to celebrate the birthday of Lord Murugan, the brother of Lord Ganesh.

Guest blogger, Abhilash has graciously donated this article from his blog to be shared among readers here at Alaivani. Learn about a few reasons, legends, stories and myths of Karthigai Deepam. Fascinating stuff! Thanks, Abhilash.


Copyright ©2009 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


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