Karthigai Deeepam, or Karthika Deepam, is the festival of lights in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In 2013, the date of Karthigai Deepam is November 17. In Tamil Nadu, it is observed on the full moon day( or a day earlier) in the month of Karthigai (November-December). In Kerala, the festival is known as Trikartika or Kartika Vilaku and is held in the month of Vrichikam (November – December). Lighting traditional oil lamps in the evening after sunset (during twilight period) is the main event on the day.
Karthigai Deeepam is also observed as Bharani Deepam and Vishnu Deepam in Tamil Nadu and is an auspicious day for both Shaivites and Vaishanvites.
Talk about Karthigai Deepam and the picture that comes to mind is that of rows and rows of lamps or ‘vilakku’. On this day, every Hindu home lights the traditional Vilaku (diyas) in the evening. Locally, these lamps are known as ‘agal vilakkus.’
The day is also highly auspicious for Lord Muruga devotees as he was taken care by the six Krttika stars and the celebrations on Karthigai commemorate his divine birth. In popular Tamil belief, Karthikai Nakshatra is the birthday of Murukan.
Karthigai Deeepam is celebrated as Tirukarttikai in Tamil Nadu,
Kerala, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, and in other parts of the world which has Tamil population. People light lamps outside their home. South Africa
Especially in Tiruvannamalai, rows of lamps are lighted on the hill and this is most popular Karthigai Deepam.
The lighted lamp is an auspicious symbol and it is believed to usher in prosperity and joy.