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Kartik in North India and Muruga in South India – The differences

Lord Muruga, the son of Lord Shiva, is popularly known as Kartik in North India. In South India, Kartik is also known as Subrahmanya and Skanda. There are some major differences the way in which Lord Kartik is worshipped in North and South India. The worship of Kartik is more popular in South India, especially among Tamilians and Malayalis (Tamil Nadu and Kerala). Kartik is worshipped in North India but not anywhere near the way in which he is worshipped in South India.

Legend has it that Lord Kartik once felt that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati showered more love on Ganesha and therefore he decided to leave Kailas and move to South India. Lord Shiva tried to pacify Him but Kartik was firm about His decision. He reached the hills of South India and decided to live there and the people there called him, Murugan – the divine youth.

In due course, Muruga married Devayani, also known as Sena, the daughter of Indra. He also married Valli, a tribal girl. Muruga is believed to reside on hills of Palani.

Difference in Lord Kartik in North and South Indian Culture
In North India, Lord Kartik is the elder son of Shiva and Parvati. But in South India, Ganesha is the elder son of Shiva and Parvati.

Lord Kartik is believed to be unmarried in North India. In South India, Muruga has two wives, Devayani and Valli.

In North India, Kartik is largely seen as a war god and is believed to be responsible for the loss of men and thereby responsible for creating widows. But in South India, his courage and masculine character is celebrated and worshipped.

Vel or Shoolam is the weapon and symbol of Muruga and it is worshipped and included in pujas, festivals and rituals in South India. Vel is not popularly worshipped in North India.

Thaipoosam, the festival dedicated to Muruga, and Sashti, the monthly fast dedicated to Him, is observed largely in South India.