Karthigai…Festival of Lamps

kaarthigai deepam
Karthigai Deepam festival is celeberated mainly in Tamil nadu , on Pournami / Poornima in the Tamil month of  Karthigai( mid Nov -Dec ) as per Tamil Calendar .

Indian Festival of Lamps : Kaarthigai : Dev Diwali : Kaarthik Poornima : Guru Poorab

Lord Shiva appeared as an endless flame of light before Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma who each considered as supreme and said the mater should be tested if the two could search for the head and feet  of Lord Shiva . So Lord Vishnu took the guise of a boar and delved deep into the eart to find , Lord Brahma took the form of a swan , Hamsa , and flew towards the skies.  Lord Vishnu failed in his mission , but Lord Brahma , happened to see the Thazahmbu  a flower that had been floating for thousands of years from Lord Shiva s head, Lord Brahma seized this and   then told a lie that he had seen Lord Shiva s head . This made Lord Shiva furious and and pronounced angrily that henceforth there will be no separate temple for Lord Brahma in this world and cursed the flowwwer Thazhambu that it cannot be offered in prayers for worship . He then appeared as aflame and that day is the Kaarthigai .

  • Finally when none of them won, Lord Shiva emerged back into form and thus emphasized about the ifiniteness and ultimate existence of God that is beyond all measurements.
  • Lord Muruga took the form of six flames that emerged from the eyes of Lord Shiva. These flames took the form of six babies and accumulated in a lake known as ‘Saravana Poigai’. On this day, these nymphs were accumulated by Goddess Parvati and thereafter Karthikai Deepam is also the day when Lord Muruga is worshipped.

Other names of Karthikai Deepam

  • Karthika Deepam
  • Trikartika
  • Kartika Villaku
  • Tirrukarttikai
  • Karthikai Naksatra
  • Bharani deepam
  • Vishnu deepam

Karthigai Deepam and Thiruvanamalai

Celebrations of Karthigai festival is extremely famous in Tiruvannamalai hills. It is celebrated as a ten day festival and is refereed to as Karthigai Brahmotsavam.
Karthigai Deepam festival starts at around four o’clock in the early hours and the Bharani Deepam is lit at the temple. In the evening the Mahadeepam is lit on the top of the hill at around six o clock. Arunachaleswarar is said to be visually represented in the form of agni on the hill top. There is a very mammoth gathering on this day at the Arunachaleswarar temple to witness this glorious and sacred event. The night ceremony starts with Lord Periya nayagar going out procession on the Rishaba vahanam that is made of gold. Theppal – Lord Chandrasekarar, Lord Parasakthi,Lord Subramaniar goes in the boat and this is called Theppam, since it carried out in the tank. Lord Arunachaleswarar goes procession round the hill, known as Girivalam or pradhiksahana. With this ceremony the Karthigai Deepam festival at Arunachaleswarar temple comes to a grand conclusion with the devotees taking back home some divine blessings and memories from this ancient holy city Tiruvannamalai.

Karthigai Deepam

Since this is a festival of lights , houses are fully decorated with earthern lamps called agal vilaku . These are  considered very auspicious and lighting of lamps is considered as dispelling  and warding of evil , and lamps representing the  brightness , goodness and prosperity . Infact lamps are lit  in eryhome outside , mainly on the door steps in the evening hours  through out the month  of Karthigai .

Lord Shiva appeared as a hill (Arunachala Hill) at  `Tiruvannamalai’ and `Arunachala’ translate as `holy fire hill.’ The Shivalinga in the temple here is the agni linga. The tiny lamps lit during the Karthigai festival (Karthigai Deepam) are believed to be the miniature lingas.Lamps are lit in the houses to pray His “Jyothi Swarupam”.

First day of this festival is called as “Appakarthigai” and the second day is called as “vadai karthigai”. Pori,adhirasam,vella Seedai, vetrilai pakku,fruits are offered as neivedhyam for God Shiva.

In down South of Tamilnadu it is a custom  for ladies to pray for the welfare of their brothers and they will light a elephant lamp(Gajalakshmi Vilaku) which marks as a sign of prosperity and wealth.

Houses are washed and cleaned. Women draw Kolam (floral patterns) in front of the house in order to welcome the Gods. Agal Villaku are used as decorations in the kolams. Lamps are placed in front of God and the entire house is decorated with lamps. They use variety of Lamps to decorate the house including Lakshmi Villaku, Kuthu Villaku, Gajalakshmi Villaku, Agal Villaku and also small mud lamps. Devotees observe Vrat on this day and kept until sunset. People pray for the long life and well being of their family members.

Why we light Elephant lamp on Karthigai ?

Once upon a time there lived a King and he had only one daughter. She loved an elephant which grew with her and she considered the elephant as her own brother. After her marriage she missed her brother elephant very much. So for every Thirukarthigai/Karthigai deepam occasion, she will light elephant lamp(Gajalakshmi vilaku) and she will prepare tender coconut, elephant leg size  Milagu Adai, Pori,Adhirasam,Vella Seedai and keep them as neivedhyam for this festival.

 

 

 

Pori Urundai recipe

 

·    4  cups Nel  Pori ( paddy flakes )
·    1 cup Jaggery powdered
·    ½ cup roasted gram dal/pottukadalai
·    ½ cup small pieces of coconut
·    ½ tsp cardamom powder
·    Pinch of dry ginger powder
·
Method:

Testing for the consistency.

 

This thick drop whe n settles in cold water will firm up to form a small ball.

Time to quickly mix the pori with the syrup , first with a wooden or a steel spatula and then start making small clumps , keep them aside. like the pic showws below, at this stage dnt attempt to form a firm ball as it will be verybhot and very sticky.

When the clumps of sticky pori is somewhat cooled, you can start firming up the pori into tight balls.

Method

 

Sieve the Pori  put  the cleaned Pori in a large bowl, add pottukadalai and mix well.

Dry roast the coconut pieces slightly and keep aside.
In a heavy pan melt the jaggery with ½ cup water, and make a thick syrup.
Test the consistency by dropping the syrup in a bowl of cold water, it should stay
firm and you should be able to form a ball, and when flung on the plate , it
will fall with a thud! That is the correct consistency. Now add cardamom
powder, dry ginger powder and fried coconut pieces and  mix everything well and quickly.
Next remove from stove and add the Pori and mix it
thoroughly using a spatula..
When it has slightly warmed and easy to hold in palms, first make small lumps of the sticky pori and set aside separately as
shown in the pic, then apply some loose rice flour on the palms end now begin to firmly roll the pori into balls.It will be possible now as we have set  aside the sticky pori into small manageable lumps.You can grease the palms
with either ghee or oil too but rice flour works better..
Even if you are not able to make the balls, just
leave them loose as sweet pori and actually this is called Karthigai pori.
Same method for both types of pori urundai.

 

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