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Hindus mark ‘Second Festival of Lights’ with prayer and fun – ‘Karthigai Deepam’ heralds another era of prosperity


 

Karthigai Deepam is celebrated as a religious and social festival on December 6, 2022 (Photo from Vedic Astrology)

Hindus have been marking ‘Karthigai Deepam’ in many parts of the world, heralding another era of prosperity and as a fitting prelude to the ensuing festive season.

Temples and homes observe the day with prayers and festive lunch, while children will partake in arranging rows of lamps, reminiscing Deepavali or Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

Karthigai Deepam is celebrated mostly in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Sri Lanka. The Festival is held on Full Moon Day in the Tamil month of Karthigai.

This ancient festival has references in ‘Ahananuru,’ a collection of poetry from the much-celebrated Sangam period of Tamils, noted for its rich literary legacy. It discusses events that occurred between 200 BC and 300 AD. Avvaiyar, a well-known female poet who lived during this period, mentions Karthigai Deepam in some of her works.

Festival narratives

There are several stories surrounding Karthigai Deepam, one of which associates it with Lord Murugan (or Muruga) the Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi, worshipped as ‘The Tamil God.’

According to a legend, Muruga was created from six sparks of fire that emitted from Shiva’s third eye. Six babies emerged, nursed and raised by six Karthigai Penngal (Karthigai Stars) in Saravana Poigai, a small lake, believed to have supernatural powers, at the foot of the Himalayas. It is believed that Goddess Parvathi combined the six babies into one. Thus, Lord Murugan  is depicted with six faces and is called Arumugam.

Lord Murugan: The Main Deity at the Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam in Mangere, Auckland, where special prayers were held to mark Karthigai Deepam (Facebook Photo)

Another legend has it that Lord Shiva emerged as a flame on this day, which is known as Karthigai Maha Deepam. The little clay lamps that are lit are thought to represent miniature reproductions of the fire Linga. When Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma considered themselves to be the supreme-most, Lord Shiva emerged as an unending blaze of light before them. He instructed them to look for His Head and Feet. Lord Vishnu assumed the Avatar of a Boar and descended into the ground, while Lord Brahma took the form of a Swan and flew into the sky. Both were unsuccessful in their mission and Lord Siva ended their ego.

How Karthigai is celebrated.

Devotees start the day with a bath, clean their homes and decorate the entrance with Kolam (Rangoli). In the evening, devotees take another bath, wear new or freshly laundered clothes and start lighting the lamps, placed at the main door and throughout the home facing East. This light represents the wisdom that erases ignorance and enlightens.

Special Prayers at Temples

Special Prayers were held at Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam located at 69 Tidal Road, Māngere, Auckland 2022 and the New Zealand Thirumurugan Temple situated at 145 Church Street in Otahuhu. While the former conducted a special Chatru Samhara Trishati payers, the latter held  Sokkapanai Prayers, including burning a hollowed tree trunk symbolising the destruction of evil.

Malini Yugendran is an Indian Newslink Reporter based in Auckland.

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