Karthigai Deepam is the oldest festival of South India , which is also the most elaborate and the most important festival. Karthigai Deepam falls in the Tamil month of Karthigai, it usually occurs on a full moon day. This festival is also called as "the Festival of Lights".
The month of Karthigai is of special importance to the local people, which gets its name from the star 'Krithigai'. Lord Shiva, with His divine light, created Lord Muruga, in this month.
The popular legend behind the celebrations goes like this- Once upon a time the Devas, the heavenly immortals, take great pains to have a complete Darshan of Lord Shiva. During this process Lord Brahma took the form of a swan and Lord Vishnu in the form of a boar conducted an extensive search in the sky and in the nether world.
Lord Shiva asked Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu to find out the exact location of his head and his feet. Since Lord Shiva took a gigantic form, they were not able to find him anywhere. Then Lord Shiva appeared before them in the form of a flaming light on the hill of Thiruvannamalai.
Lord Muruga took the form of six babies in a lake called "Saravana Poigai". On this day, Parvati (his mother) united all his six forms and so Lord Muruga has six faces. Special pujas are performed to Lord Muruga, the second son of Shiva and Parvathi. Lord Ganesha being the eldest.
On this day, people clean their houses and draw 'Kolams' (Rangoli) in front of the house and also place some lamps on it. They place the lamps ('Agal') in the puja room and light them and after the Puja the lamps are moved to the different places in the house. The lamps glow all over the streets, lighting up the night.
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