Karthigai Deepam Festival in Tamil Nadu
Karthigai Deepam is one of the oldest festivals in Tamilnadu and some of the other sates of India like Kerala and few other states. The Karthigai Deepam would really mean Karthigai a Tamil month and Deepam would mean a candle or a flame like lamp. During this festival usually the Tamil people clean their house and wash them. When the house is tidy and clean they decorate their house with 'Kolam' and in the night let the light in their house which is the Deepam. It is a ten day festival and it is also known as the ending procedure of Diwali. It is one of the happy go festivals which make the people happy.
History of the Deepam Festival in Tamil Nadu
The history of Deepam festival starts before thousands of years. The Tamil scripts notes that this festival is celebrated long since. Many of the olden scripts also give us the information that in those days the Deepam festival was celebrated in a grand manner. It is believed that on this month of Karthigai the Divine light of Lord Shiva took its form or it is the Birthday of Lord Murugan. It is the special day for the muruga devotees. The festival is celebrated on full moon day or one day in earlier.
The belief is that it is said to be the birthday of lord Muruga himself. Lord Muruga was born to Lord Shiva after he came from his deep 'Thiyanam'. It happened after the death of Goddess Sati. Lord born to Lord Shiva as six different babies. These babies were looked after by Goddess Parvathi. After some years the six babies came to be one divine being called Murugan. It is because of this reason Lord Muruga is called as Arumugan which means with six faces.
Another belief regarding the Karthigai Deepam is in remembrance of Lord Shiva got back the earth and heaven from the King Bali. Bali had become as the ruler of the three worlds and started to rule over it with correct justice. Since he was honest no god could fight against them. The Devas also lost their Indiralogam. This made the Devas to get angry with Bali. The Devas went and complained to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu also was not able to fight against an honest king.
In order to defeat Bali lord Vishnu had taken the form of a Brahmin boy and arrived to Bali. During those times the asura Bali was performing a special Poona to attain more power. In order to attain the power by pooja he needed to provide all the things that a Brahmin needs. Lord Vishnu in the form of a small Brahmin boy reached Balli and asked him 3 three feet of land for him. Bali was shocked to hear such a silly questions. He has granted permission and accepted that he would give the three feet of land to the Brahmin boy himself.
Lord Shiva has taken the form of a tallest being and taken the first step over the earth and covered all the earth for himself. In the second step he has taken and covered all the heaven and universe. For the third step he had no place to keep. The giant Bali understood his mistakes and became a good man and offered his head for the third step. Lord Vishnu has regained the earth and heaven from the asura. On this commemoration the people celebrate the Karthigai Deepam.
History of Thiruvannamalai Karthigai Deepam
The Thiruvannamalai Deepam is celebrated as the avatar of Lord Shiva. When there was the misunderstanding between Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma on who was more powerful among them in this world. The sage Narathar came and told these two that Lord Shiva is the ultimate being of all. He convinced these two Gods by saying that Lord Shiva is the most powerful God in this world but it was not accepted by these two Gods. Lord Shiva had decided to teach these two gods a lesson and make them understand about the ultimate Being. Lord Shiva came between the two and took the form of fire which was very huge. Lord Shiva said from the great fire that any one that approaches the fire's top and bottom will be the great and more powerful God for ever. Lord Brahma made himself as swan and flew to the tip on the top of the fire for many years and could not see the end for ever. Like wise Lord Vishnu also changed himself as boar and dug the mud for several years to see the bottom of the fire. He had failed to see the bottom of the fire. The two gods understood their mistake and worshiped Lord Vishnu as the ultimate being in the world. It is to remember the great fire of Lord Vishnu the Deepam is lit on the mount top which is then called as the Deepam. Since it was celebrated in the Karthigai month the festival was named as Karthigai Deepam.
The Thiruvannamalai Karthigai Deepam is so huge and giant that the fire is seen even from a 30 Km distance. The festival here takes place for 10 days. On the 10th day the Maha Deepam is celebrated here in Thiruvannamalai.