Thirukarthigai - Recipes - Why & How do we celebrate Karthigai Deepam Thirukarthigai/Karthigai Deepam comes on the tamil month Karthigai on Pournami day(Full moon day). Throughout the month lamps are lit in the front of the house in the evening . On the Thirukarthigai/Karthigai Deepam day the whole house is decorated with the oil lamps. Thiruvannamalai is famous for Thirukarthigai/Karthigai Deepam. This year, Thiru Karthigai falls on 8th Dec 2011. Story behind Karthigai Once Brahma and Vishnu due to the ego started arguing with each other " who is the greatest". Both claimed to be the greatest, instead of doing their duty. At that time the God Shiva appeared in the form of fire and told them whoever finds the top or bottom of the fire is the greatest. Brahma took the form of Annam (a bird) and tried to find the top of the frle pillar. Vishnu took the form of Varaha( giant pig) and tried to see the bottom of the pillar. As the God has no limit in his size or power, both of them could not see either top or bottom of the fire. When their ego went down and they prayed the God, He appeared before them. The day in which the God appeared as a pillar of fire is Thirukarthigai/Karthigai Deepam. Lord Shiva appeared as a hill (Arunachala Hill) at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. Indeed, the very names `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 replicas of the fire linga. Every year thousands of devotees from Chennai and elsewhere flock to Tiruvannamalai to see the spectacular Karthigai Deepam there. This vradha indicates the non measurable infiniteness of the God and shows that the God is the light that will drive away our ignorance. 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". All devotees will offer pori,adhirasam,vella Seedai, vetrilai pakku,fruits as neivedhyam for God Shiva. In down South of Tamilnadu and in Kerala, Hindus will pray god for goodness of their brothers and they will light a elephant lamp(Gajalakshmi Vilaku) which marks as a sign of prosperity and wealth. The story behind lighting elephant lamp(Gajalakshmi Vilaku) is given below. 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 Milagu Adai, Pori,Adhirasam,Vella Seedai and keep them as neivedhyam for this festival. So we on this auspicious occassion all devotees should chant the following lines கீட: பதங்கா மசகாஸ்ச வ்ருதா ஜலே ஸ்த்யேயே விசரந்தி ஜீவா தருஷ்டவா ப்ரதீபம் ந ச ஜன்ம பாகிந: பவந்தி நித்யம் சவ பசா ஹி விப்ரா and also Yaanai Vaazha Arasan Vaazha Penn Vaazha Piranthagam Vaazha and put one piece of pori in the lamp and perform the pooja along with neivedhyam. Dear IL Friends, Hope most of them celebrate this.. please share ur celebrations & views & receips too.. Happy to inform that my LO was born on Thirukarthigai day last year..