Check out the recipes for Karthigai:
Karthigai Deepam is one of the oldest festivals celebrated by the Tamil people in the Tamil month of Karthigai. It has been referred to in many ancient works of Tamil literature that dates back to 2,000 or 2,500 BC.
It is celebrated in a grand manner at Tiruvannamalai where a huge lamp (A circular metal lamp of five and half feet height and diameter of five feet which hold 2000 litres of ghee. The wick of the lamp is made up of 30 meters of thick cotton cloth and 2 kilogram camphor) is lit on top of the Tiruvannamalai hill, symbolifying Shiva’s appearance as a huge column of light. When the lamp is lit, it can be seen across an area of 35 kilo meters around the Hill Shrine.
It is also called as ‘Thirukarthigai’ and celebrated to commemorate the birth of Lord Muruga.
Most of the people fast from morning till evening. In the evening after doing Puja, they light large number of flat earthen oil lamps (Agal Vilakku) and arrange it in a beautiful way on the Kolams drawn in front of the house. The lamps are also kept in a row on the Balconies, Staircases, Near the Door Entrance, Windows, all over the floors and wherever people find place in and around their houses. Traditionally Karthigai is celebrated with earthen oil lamps only. Now, in Cities some people switched over to the scented candles in different colours and designs.
The other feature of this celebration is lighting of bonfire called `chokkapanai’. Dried panai (palm tree) fronds are tied to a dry wood and placed in an open place near the temples. After the evening Puja and lighting the lamps, the temple priest will come out and do puja and lit the chokkapanai. Once it catches fire, it will start bursting with cracking sounds. May be olden days crackers??
Children also do fireworks (mostly saved from the Deepavali Purchase) to mark the occasion.
The lighted lamp is considered an auspicious symbol. It is believed to ward off evil forces and usher in prosperity and joy. More than that it is a beautiful sight to watch the lamps or the candles glow in the dark night.
Let the lights lit for the festival usher in brightness not only into the houses but also in every one’s life.