Karthigai Deepam or Karthikai Deepam is a popular Hindu festival celebrated mainly by the Tamil speaking Hindus. The day of Karthigai Deepam is decided according to Tamil Solar Calendar. It is celebrated in the month of Karthikai when Karthigai Nakshatra prevails during Ratrimana. This is the auspicious time when Karthigai Nakshatra coincides with Pournami, in the month of Karthikai.
Karthigai Deepam at Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwara Swamy temple:
Karthigai Deepam celebration at Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwara Swamy temple, popularly known as Karthikai Brahmotsavam, is the most significant celebration. Here the Karthigai Deepam festivity continues for 10 days. To begin the celebration, Dwajarohanam is performed on the day when Uthiraadam Nakshatra prevails at sunrise. Generally, Uthiraadam Nakshatra prevails 10 days before the main Karthigai Deepam day.
Karthigai Deepam is different from Bharani Deepam, which is the inaugural ritual of Karthigai Deepam. Bharani Deepam is observed before sunrise at 4 a.m. Bharani Deepam day occurs on the previous day or on the same day of Karthigai Deepam. Bharani Deepam is lit in the temple premises when Bharani Nakshatra prevails. Generally, in most years Bharani Deepam is lit at 4 a.m., and it falls on the same day of Karthigai Deepam.
Karthigai Deepam is lit after sunset using the flame taken from Bharani Deepam. The flame is carried at the top of the hill in the evening to light the Karthigai Maha Deepam.