4) Karthigai Deepam


There are two reasons to celebrate Karthikai Festival:

                         Lord Shiva is worshipped as five elements in five different shrines in Tamil Nadu. He is worshipped as fire at Tiruvannamalai. When Vishnu and Brahma, the other two gods in the Trinity, wanted to find out the top and bottom (head and feet= end and beginning) of Shiva he appeared to them as flame which has no top or bottom.

                        Lord Subramanya was raised by six Karthikai girls. The Pleiades constellation in the sky is a six star system according to Hindus and Seven Sisters according to the Greeks. With binoculars we can see seven stars. Still Hindus can interpret it as Lord Kartikeya + six women/foster mothers. Lighting the lamps is like offering prayers to Skanda= Subramanya=Kartikeya. Lord Subramanya (popularly known as Murugan in Tamil) is itself Fire that came out of the Third Eye of Lord Shiva.

                        Though Saivaite colour is given to this festival now, Vishnu temples also celebrate it under the term Vishnu Deepam linking Mahavishnu-Mahabali episode. During Sangam Age every Tamil celebrated it irrespective of their sectarian affiliation.