Thursday, December 08, 2011
Tomorrow is Karthikai Deepam festival or rather we have decided to celebrate the festival tomorrow. I say this because most Hindu festivals are not celebrated on a fixed date either by the Hindu calendar or the English calendar. They are observed on a particular star or a thithi according to lunar calendar. Some festivals like Karthikai and Thiruvathirai are celebrated on the day that a particular star coincides with a full moon. Usually in the month of Karthikai (the Tamil month) or Vrischikam (Nov - Dec) in Malayalam, the star Karthikai falls on a full moon day. That is when the Karthikai Deepam festival is celebrated. More often there is a variation in this pattern like the full moon day falls on a day after the star Karthikai and then there are deliberations as to when to observe the festival, on the Karthikai star or on full moon day. And most people settle for a day according to what their priest says. Similarly this year, the Karthikai star rises at 3 pm on 8th December and Poornima starts in the evening of 9th December. So there are deliberations as to when to celebrate the festival. The famous Annamalai Deepam in the temple town of Thiruvannamalai dedicated to Lord Shiva is being celebrated this year on 8th December. But my mother tells me the priest in our village has said Karthikai is to be celebrated on 9th December. Some people are celebraing the fesival on the 10th as well.
As such there is always a difference in the days on which Iyers and Iyengars celebrate the various festivals. One sect gives importance to the star and the other sect gives importance to the thithi. All said and done festivals are celebrated to pray for peace and happiness all around; so a festival celebrated on any day is for the well being of mankind and it doesn't matter when one celebrates as long as the spirit of harmony and well being is maintained.
In our house, Karthikai has special importance and is always celebrated in a grand style. Our elder son always makes it a point to come home during Karthikai festival. He likes to light lots of lamps around the house. Karthikai is also important because my youngest brother was born on Karthikai day and his birthday is celebrated on Karthikai day. My husband was born the day after Karthikai, though his birth star is Mrigaseersham, which again goes to say that particular year, Karthikai was celebrated on Rohini star. We, including our sons, can visualise the day so clearly though none of us were born then, as it has been told to us on each Karthikai day by my mother-in-law. Happy birthday hubby dear and happy birthday my dear brother!
Make neyvedyams of Pori, Appam and Adai and light lots of lamps to remove the darkness and bring in light of prosperity and love all around.