Karthigai Deepam the south Indian festival and similar to Bhai Duj or Raksha Bandhan and is an extension of Diwali. It is observed in each home and temple in Tamil Nadu in month of Kaarthigai (November and December) for 10 days as per the Tamil calender. It is celebrated during Purnima or full moon day when the moon is in line with the six star constellation called Kaarthigai (Pleiades).
In 2016, Karthigai Deepam will be celebrated on 12th December 2016.
The idea behind this festival is to keep away bad things from life and welcome the good and holy things of life. For the festival the sisters pray for their brothers’ well being and the brothers in turn, promise to safeguard the sisters. In addition to this the lighting of lamps in the homes, temples and the workplace is the most beautiful part of the festival and these lamps are found all around to bring in happiness.
Before the festival people clean their houses. On the festival day women make kolams (rangoli) in the front of the house and also place some lamps on it. People make this festival more merrier for themselves by wear new clothes, exchanging gifts, try to meet all their relatives, orgainise or attend family get-together and rejoice with happiness.
As per the mythology Lord Shiva asks Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu to find out the exact location of his head and his feet. Since Lord Shiva takes a gigantic form, they are not able to find out anywhere. Then Lord Shiva takes the form of a jyothi (light of fire) on the hill of Thiruvannamali. Therefore, this festival is also known as Annamalai Deepam. Lord Muruga took the form of six babies in a lake called “Saravana Poigai”. On this day, all his six forms were united by Parvathi (his mother).