In short

Kartik Purnima is a cultural festival Hindu, Sikh and Jain, celebrated on the day of Purnima (full moon) or the fifteenth lunar day of Kartik (November-December). It is also known as Tripuri Purnima and Tripurari Purnima. It is sometimes called Deva-Diwali or Deva-Deepawali, the festival of lights of the gods.

Kartik Purnima

Kartik Purnima or Deva-Diwali

Tripuri Purnima or Tripurari Purnima gets its name from Tripurari – the enemy of the demon Tripurasura. In certain legends from Kartik Purnima, the term is used to refer to the three demon sons of Tārakāsura. Tripurari is an epithet of the god Shiva. Shiva in his form of Tripurantaka (“Slayer of Tripurasura”) killed Tripurasura on this day. The killing of the demon(s) and the destruction of his cities with a single arrow – by Shiva delighted the gods and they declared the day as a festival of illuminations. This day is also called “Dev-Diwali” – the Diwali of the gods. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights.

Kartik Purnima is also the birthday of Matsya, the fish incarnation (avatar) of god Vishnu. It is also the birthday of Vrinda, the personification of the Tulsi plant and Kartikeya, the god of war and son of Shiva. This day is also considered special for Goddess Radha, the lover and eternal consort of God Krishna. It is believed that Krishna and Radha danced the rasa and Krishna worshiped Radha on that day. This day is also dedicated to pitrs, deceased ancestors.

Underhill believes that the origins of this festival may be found in ancient times, when a sacrifice called Shakamedhah was performed to achieve victory over enemies.

The festival has even more significance when the day falls in the Nakshatra (lunar mansion) Krittika and is then called Maha Kartik. The nakshatra is Bharani, the results are said to be special. If it is Rohini nakshatra, then the fruitful results are even more. Any philanthropic act on this day is believed to bring benefits and blessings equal to the performance of ten Yajnas (sacrifices).

Kartik Purnima is closely associated with Prabodhini Ekadashi which marks the end of Chaturmas, a four-month period during which Vishnu is believed to sleep. Prabodhini Ekadashi means awakening of the god. Chaturmas penance ends on this day. Many fairs that start at Prabodhini Ekadashi end at Kartik Purnima, with Kartik Purnima usually being the most important day of the fair. Fairs that end on this day include the Prabodhini Ekadashi celebrations in Pandharpur and the Pushkar Fair. Kartik Purnima is also the last day to perform the Tulsi Vivah ceremony which can be performed from Prabodhini Ekadashi.

Furthermore, it is believed that Vishnu, on this day, returns to his abode after completing his stay in Bali. Therefore, the day is known as Deva-Diwali.

In Pushkar, Rajasthan, the Pushkar fair or Pushkar mela begins on Prabodhini Ekadashi and continues till Kartik Purnima, the latter being the most important. This fair is organized in honor of the god Brahma, whose temple stands in Pushkar. A ritual bath on Kartik Purnima in Pushkar Lake is considered to lead to salvation. Surrounding the three Pushkars on Kartik Purnima is believed to be highly meritorious. Sadhus gather here and stay from Ekadashi on full moon day in caves.

A ritual bath in a tirtha (a sacred body of water like a lake or river) at a pilgrimage center is prescribed on Kartik Purnima. This sacred bath is known as “Kartik snana”. A holy bath in Pushkar or in the Ganges, especially in Varanasi, is considered the most auspicious. Kartik Purnima is the most popular day for bathing in the Ganges in Varanasi. Devotees also take bath in the evening when the moon rises and offer worship through six prayers such as Shiva Sambuti, Satait and so on.

Annakuta, a food offering to the deities, is kept in temples. God Vishnu is also worshiped on this day. Any form of violence (hinsa or himsa) is prohibited on this day. This includes shaving, cutting hair, cutting down trees, picking fruits and flowers, cutting crops, and even sexual union. Charity especially cow donation, feeding of Brahmins, fasting are religious activities prescribed for Kartik Purnima. Gifting gold is believed to satisfy all people's desires.

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Today the jains, Hindus and Sikhs celebrate Kartik Purnima, also known as Deva-Diwali, the festival of lights of the gods. Shiva in his Tripurantaka form killed Tripurasura that day. Slaying the demon(s) and destroying its cities with a single arrow delighted the gods and they declared the day a festival of illuminations. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #kartikpurnima #purnima #shiva #tripurasura #devadiwali

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Kartik Purnima