I gave a small attempt at celebrating Karthigai Deepam at my house, last night. Didn’t get it ritually complete I guess and it was kind of unplanned; probably will be able to do it in a better way next year 🙂
Karthigai Deepam is celebrated on the Full Moon Night (Pournima) in honour of Shiva and his son, Karthikeya .It is said that Shiva created Karthikeya from the trinetra (third eye) of six of his forms- hence Karthikeya is a god with six heads in some iconic forms in the South.He is an enigmatic god in the Hindu religion- valiant, skilled in warfare, handsome, yet relatively ignored compared to his famous brother, Ganapathi (Lord of wisdom and prosperity). Well, ignored that is, except in the South, especially Tamil Nadu, where Karthikeya (also called Skanda/ Murugan), the rider of the peacock, is a major deity in his own right, and there are important temples in his honour.
Karthigai Deepam is a beautiful festival of lights, most famous at Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, where the hill is worshipped as Arunachaleshwara Shiva and a giant beacon is lighted on the top, visible from scores of miles across the countryside. The deity of Lord Arunachaleshewara ( Shiva) with his consort Unnamalaiyar ( Parvati) is taken in a ceremonial procession across the town. This is a spectacular festival that draws lakhs of people from India and abroad.
Karthigai Deepam is also celebrated at Ramanashramam, Tiruvannamalai, the abode of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. Some of Bhagavan Ramana’s devotees see him as a form of Karthikeya/ Skanda (having declared Shiva as his father)- others see him as a form of Dakshinamoorthy Shiva( who taught his disciples in silence). Hence, Karthigai Deepam is central to Ramanashramam.
Karthigai Deepam is also celebrated at homes in the South, where the Ardhanareeshwara form of Shiva is worshipped, and Karthikeya honoured, with the lighting of beautiful ritual lamps and kolams (rangoli form prevalent in the South). This is a major festival in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In other parts of India, Karthik Purnima is celebrated on this day.
The central message of Karthigai Deepam, like Deepavali, is- let Light prevail, let Ignorance (Avidya) be burnt from the system. Being a devotee of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, I guess it was another of His subtle graces in my life that Karthigai Deepam fell on my birthday this year.
Some of the photos here were sent my friends from Tamil Nadu and elsewhere, and I got some others from the internet. The pictures at my house were taken by two of my friends here.Thanks to Pallavi, Sivakumar, Sunanda, Aachi , Ravi, Salomi.Om Namo Ramanayah.
More info about Karthigai Deepam:
- General info about Karthigai Deepam-
- Deepam festival at Tiruvannamalai-
- Video of Deepam festival at Ramanashramam-
Karthigai Deepam at Tiruvannamalai
Karthigai Deepam at Ramanashramam- the way the little girl is singing is simply mesmerizing- listen to the devotion in her voice. This is the charm of Ramanashramam.
Karthigai Deepam festivities
Annamalaiyar Temple decorated for Deepam festival
Deepam festivities at Ramana Kendra, New Delhi