The history of the Kartika Festival dates back to around 200 BC when it finds mention in the Ahananuru, a book of poems. This famous book of poems informs that the festival is celebrated on a purnima or a full moon night during the Tamil month of Karthigai.
One of the oldest festivals of India, Kartika has been celebrated even before people started celebrating Navratri and Diwali. Distinct from other Hindu festivals, Kartika is mostly a Tamil festival and is celebrated on a smaller scale in some other parts of the country. In Tamil the festival of Kartika is known as Karthigai Deepam Festival.
Kartika is a festival of lights. Uttradam day, which is the first day of the nine days celebration, marks the beginning of the festival. A flag hoisting ceremony on the first day is one of the first rituals of the day. The Bharani Deepam is to be lit in the Arunachaleswara’s Sannithi.
In the presence of a full moon, the deity, Ardhanareswarar is removed from the sanctum with five deepams. The elaborate rituals and the decorations in the temple and in the houses of devotees make the festival vivacious and colorful.
The festival attracts thousands of devotees from all across the country. Every house is lit with earthen lamps. An auspicious symbol, lighted lamps have a significant part in the festival of Kartika. The festival is to welcome peace and prosperity and to ward off evil and ill luck.
Time to celebrate
The festival is celebrated in the Tamil month of Karthigai which is between November and December. The nine day celebration begins on Uttradam day. The tenth day marks the end of the celebrations.
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