Pradeep Pattanayak

The Hindu month of Kartik is considered to be the holiest month in a year. The major celebration in this month is Kartika Purnima. This is celebrated 15 days after Diwali. In other words, it is celebrated on the 15th lunar day (full moon) of Kartika month which, according to the Western calendar, falls in the month of November and December. This year, the festival falls on November 27. 

In Southern India, people celebrate Kartika Purnima as the birthday of Lord Kartikeya, the god of war and the eldest son of Lord Shiva while in north India, Kartika Purnima is associated with Probodhini Ekadashi, also known as Deva Uttana Ekadasi. 

Ekadashi means the eleventh day and Purnima means the fifteenth day of Kartika month. This means, the festivities of Probodhini Ekadashi last for five days. On this day, the four-month-long period of Chaturmasya during which Lord Vishnu is asleep ends and He wakes up.

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During Chaturmasya, no auspicious activity including marriages takes place. The end of Chaturmasya signifies the beginning of the marriage season. 

On the day of Kartik Purnima, Dev Diwali or Dev Deepawali is celebrated in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The festival is also known as Tripuri Purnima and Tripurari Purnima. The festival gets its name because it is believed that Lord Shiva killed demon Tripurasura on this day. At the death of the demon, the Gods were overjoyed and to celebrate the day, they descended to the earth. On this day, thousands of earthen lamps are illuminated at the temples across Varanasi and on the bank of the Ganga to welcome the Gods. 

The world-famous Pushkar Mela, which begins from Probodhini Ekadashi, culminates on the day of Kartika Purnima. It is believed that a dip in the holy Pushkar lake helps attain salvation. People also take a bath in the Ganga on this auspicious day to get rid of sins. 

Kartika Purnima is also celebrated as the manifestation day of lord Vishnu’s fish incarnation or Matsya Avatar. He took the form of a fish to save the four vedas from the clutches of the demons and save Manu from 'jal pralay'.  

Guru Nanak Dev was also born on the day of Kartika Purnima. This day is observed as Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurpurab. On this day, Sikhs visit Gurudwaras to offer prayers. Jain people also celebrate the day of Kartika Purnima as the ‘Jain Festival of Light’. 

And, in Odisha, the Habisyalis (elderly women who observe fast during the month) from across the state congregate in the pilgrim town of Puri to observe month-long Kartik Brata. Their brata ends on the day of Kartika Purnima. 

Such amalgamation of festivals makes Kartika Purnima an important day.