The Karthigai Deepam festival is a South Indian festival and it has been celebrated by the South Indians, throughout the world.
Karthigai is the 8th month of the Tamil calendar and it is celebrated on the full moon day of the Karthigai month.
It is not the newly developed culture, rather it has been in the tradition of the Tamilians that many ancient Tamil literatures include the evidence of Karthigai Deepam celebration. Agananooru, Karnarpadu, Jeevagachintamani and literature dated back to 2500 BC describe this festival.
The two major Hindu deities, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, had an argument about their superiority. Each of them was pompous about their strengths and started to fight. When they went to seek out for a conclusion from Lord Shiva, HE modified HIS form and became a huge spark of fire and ordered Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma to find the top and bottom of this massive flame.
In the form of a wild boar, Lord Vishnu went down to look the end part of the colossal blaze, while Lord Brahma took the swan form and tried to fly above the blaze, with the intension to view the crown of the fire. Unfortunately, both of them failed in their endeavors.
Lord Shiva, the blazing fire pillar, settled there as Thiruvannamalai hill, proving his supremacy in this Earth. Thiruvannamalai means Holy Fire Hill and hence, this day is celebrated as Karthigai festival. 1000s of visitors go round the hill, on this full moon day, with the hope that Lord Shiva will remove their hurdles.
Apart from Lord Shiva temples, the Karthigai Dheepam festival has a special meaning in the Lord Murugan temples, as well. Lord Shiva created 6 divine sparks in the Saravana Poigai and the sparks were converted into 6 babies. The babies were fostered by 6 Karthigai Pengal (Divine Angels). On the day of Karthigai Deepam festival, Goddess Parvathy blended all the 6 babies to become a single boy, Lord Karthigeya (Lord Muruga), to massacre Surapadman. Therefore, the day is glorified by lighting 1000s of lights in Lord Murugan temples.
The reason for lighting Karthigai Dheepam is also connected to the day, when Lord Murugan enlightened Lord Shiva ,regarding the inner meaning of the chanting ‘OM’. Chanting the mantra OM removes the worries, quarrels, bad temptations, anger and fear. Hence, the day is celebrated as the day of enlightenment.
Lighting an earthen lamp is the usual practice and it symbolizes that our ego (wick) is burnt with oil (divine power), so that the worldly illusions disappear and we attain enlightenment. The flame of a lamp can blaze not just the ego, but protect our home against evil forces and eyes.
Even now the Hindu devotees worship for power and intelligence to win success in all their endeavors, in an honest way, on the Karthigai Dheepam festival.
Lighting lamps on Karthigai Deepam festival brings prosperity and abundance to the home. It removes the fear and creates ultimate success.
Although the latest wax cup candles have replaced the traditional earthenware lamps filled with oil, the celebration spree has not reduced.