Saturday, December 10, 2011

Celebrating 'Light'

                                 (bharani deepam in my puja room, courtesy my MIL)

Praying to god is a part of our culture and each one of us have our own special way of connecting with god. I am  not very ritualistic and conveniently tweak some of our traditions and rituals, but placing flowers to god and lighting the silver lamp in my pooja alcove has a meditative effect on me . The glowing golden filters  of the diya  further accentuated by the fragrance of the sambrani dhoop or incense sends me into a trance. Truly sublime!! 

If just one diya can give immense joy and peace, imagine the amount of joy and peace when rows of such lighted  agal vilakkus(terracotta lamps) can give.

This tamil month of Karthigai( mid nov- Mid Dec), Tamil homes celebrate Karthigai deepam on the full moon day, an ancient festival. It is also considered as the extension of  Deepavali and in some homes people double the number of lamps every day from the day of Deepavali and conclude with a number of lamps on the day of Karthigai Deepam. Rows of agal vilakku (clay diyas, not electric ones) arranged in the  pooja room, threshold of living room, kitchen, even wash rooms,  alcove, on the compound walls, on window sills is a sight to behold making the whole place dreamlike. It cannot get surreal than this.

Many legends are associated with this festival, which I have already written  in detail here and here.  

A scientific astrologer Dr. Pazhinathan stated  in TV, that in  ancient times, when there was no electricity and darkness fell early during the winter months, the  scholars had informed the people to light the lamps so that it would serve as street light  for way farers. But people being people did not heed to the scholars. They in turn told the King and he immediately proclaimed it as a festival and ordered all people to light diyas on their front yards and back yards.  This also doubled as a street light.

The clay diyas brought during this time also adds to the potters kitty, who do brisk business during the time of deepavali and now.

                        ( a pottery stall set up at a corporate campus as part of their celebration)

What ever be the reason - spiritual, mythological or scientific or the argument that it is not relevant for today's times, It does not deter me from holding on to such traditions and customs. If anything, it only anchors me from the rigours of life and helps me to pass on our cultural baton to the gen next. I enjoy those special days called festivals.


  1. watttaaaaapitteee..waaattaaapiteeee....pori urundai pathi onnumay sollaiaye :(

  2. Such a pretty traditional rangoli , did you make it?
    How we have never ending celebrations, one after another. Soon it would be pongal. Have fun and enjoy life.

  3. simple and heartfelt, we feel the same where ever we may be

  4. This is simple and sweet. Very nice arrangements indeed. Thanks for sharing it with readers.

  5. Traditions are a nice anchor in a much changing world. Karthigai Deepam had another connotation in those days - we were allowed to fire a few crackers, which was a soothing balm on post Diwali blues.

    Trust Gilsu to demand pori urundai.

  6. @gils - you did'nt get? How sad? here and here padinga(4th para) pori urundai will roll out.Now :)

    @ rama - kolam courtesy-MIL, thank you:)

    @ SSStoryteller - glad you feel the same :)

    @ gardenerat60 - my pleasure, thank you :)

    @ ramesh - yes, i remember my mom also telling me to reserve some crackers for karthigai. Thank you:)

  7. I also lighted diyas and celebrated Karthikagai deepam , a first time for me. Our karthigai masam is was in Oct-Nov,around diwali.

  8. oh, so double karthigai for you. that's nice :)