The Story behind Karthigai Deepam

The Story behind Karthigai Deepam


    Karthigai Deepam is a Hindu festival celebrated by South Indians from all around the world.

    It is welcomed on the month of Karthigai in the Tamil calendar on a Karthigai Pournami (full moon). Traditionally, earthen lamps are lit in the evening after sunset. 

    Many observe Karthigai Deepam as an extension of Deepavali and in homes throughout Southern India; earthen lamps are doubled from Deepavali up to Karthigai Deepam. On Karthigai Deepam, the whole house is decorated with many more earthen lamps.

    This festival is believed to be the oldest festival celebrated by the Tamils as evidence from Tamil literature dating back to 2500 BC have written accounts of the Karthigai festival. Several other Tamil literature like the ‘’Agananuuru”, “Jeevakachintamani”, ''Karnarpadu'' from the Sangam period has also described this festival. 

    The story behind Karthigai Deepam

    Early Hindu scripture states that Lord Brahma and Vishnu had an argument regarding their superiority. Both claimed of being greater than the other instead of doing their duty. 

    To stop this argument, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a fire and challenged the two fighting Gods to find the end of the fire from the top and bottom. Lord Brahma took the form of a bird and tried to find the top of the fire, whereas, Lord Vishnu took the form of boar to find the bottom of the pillar. 

    Both their search ended in vain as Lord Shiva proved his supremacy over the two Gods and managed to stop the fight. Lord Shiva then appeared as a hill at the Thiruvannamalai region in Tamil Nadu. The day in which the Supreme appeared as a pillar of fire is then welcomed as Karthigai Deepam.

    Ancient kings later on built a temple on the hill as a commemoration to Lord Shiva. The temple is named Annamalaiyar Temple and the hill was named Annamalai Hill. Thousands of devotees flock to this temple in Thiruvannamalai to join the Karthigai Deepam because it is welcomed in a grand manner.

    A huge light is lit at the Annamalaiyar Temple from around 5 pm on Karthigai Deepam. The locals belief that it will bring them closer to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is believed to shed all his blessing during this time of the year and devotees will pray to bring peace and end all the troubles in their everyday life. 

    Picture Credit: Famous Temple, Religious Bakthi BlogSpot, The Hindu