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Thrikarthika 2018 date – Importance of Kartika Vilaku – Festival of lights in Kerala

Thrikarthika, or Trikartika, is the festival of lights celebrated in Kerala on the Kartika Nakshatram (star) in the Malayalam month of Vrischikam (November – December). Thrikarthika 2018 date is November 23. It usually falls on the full moon day in the month and on the day all the houses, streets and temples are well lit with traditional oil lamps. The festival is mainly observed in South Kerala and is of great importance in many temples.

Why is Thrikarthika Observed?

Thrikarthika festival is not dedicated to any particular God or Goddess in Hindu pantheon. But some people do claim that is dedicated to Shakti – popularly known as Bhagavati in Kerala. Some people claim it is an ancient form of nature worship.

How is Thrikarthika Observed or Procedure to Perform Kartika Vilaku?

On the Thrikarthika day after sunset, houses, streets and temples are decorated with special oil lamps. Earlier people used to make use of the shell of Marotika to light lamps. Now the Marottika shell is widely replaced by clay diya (known as idinjil or chirathu) and candles.

The stems of banana (plantain) and tender leaves of coconut tree are used to decorate the Thrikarthika lamps. The lamps are placed on the banana stems supported by coconut leaves.

People who have domesticated animals also decorate the cowshed and other places used by animals.

Special Food

Special food is prepared using Tapioca, elephant yam and other tubers with lot of grated coconut on the day and is known as Kartika Puzhukku.

The full moon night and the Thrikarthika lamps complement each other giving an awe inspiring feeling to the viewers.

On the same day, the famous Kartika Deepam and the Tiruvannamali Mahadeepam is held in neighboring Tamil Nadu.

Kumaranalloor Devi Temple Thrikarthika

One of the most famous Thrikarthika festivals is observed at the Kumaranalloor Devi Temple near Kottayam. It is part of the 10-day annual festival.

On the Karthika nakshatram day in Vrischika Masam, the arattu procession of the Devi takes place.
Legend has it that once Vadakkumnathan (Shiva) came out of the temple to have darshan of the ethereal beauty of Mother Goddess worshipped in Kumaranallor Devi Temple. Similarly, the deity at the Udayanapuram temple also came out to have darshan of the Devi.

When the priests in the temple went to perform puja, they did not find the deities in the sanctum sanctorum. They saw them sitting in the outer compound wall of the respective temple.

On the Thrikarthika day, therefore puja is performed on a spot in the compound walls of the temple. As it is believed that on the day the deities sit there to witness the arattu procession of Kumaranallor Devi.

The thrikartika desha vilakku in the temple takes place in the evening from 5:30 PM. Mother Goddess is welcomed to the Nadapanthal. Caparisoned elephants and traditional nadaswaram music welcome her.

Traditional lamps are lit in the entire temple and nearby areas.