Karthik month starts with the Deepavali festival, a festival celebrated with lights and fireworks, on the New Moon of the month.
But Deepavali is not the only Festival of Lights. Besides Deepavali, the other festivals that are celebrated with lights during this month.
In South and East India, the month of Karthika is marked by the lighting of lamps every evening on the doorstep and porch. People light lamps throughout the month.
During this season many temples all over South India conduct a festival called Theppa Utsavam, float festival, wherein the idols are mounted on a pontoon, platform which floats in the temple tank. The whole tank area is lit up with lamps and people gather to get a glimpse of the well decorated idols, pontoon and the tank.
In Tamil Nadu, this period was also celebrated as Indra Mahotsav – the festival of Indra, the King of Deva.
In Orissa, this is the period ancient mariners take out the ships into high seas to travel eastwards. Bali in Indonesia used to be their popular destination then, hence this start of the journey was celebrated as the Bali Jatra festival, which continues to be celebrated even today. They let out small floats of lamps in the village ponds, local streams and rivers.
Bali Jatra – a painting
The festival of lights is not limited to India alone. It is celebrated in the same period in Thailand too as Loy Kruthong, where the locals make beautiful floats of lamps in evenings, in water bodies.
Loy Kruthong celebration
In the Jewish tradition in the month of November, a festival of lights is celebrated as the Hanukkah Festival, where candles are lit for seven days.
An illustration of Hanukkah
In Central Europe, in the month of November and December, a festival of lights, “Carrying Menorah”, was celebrated right from the pagan times for well over 2000 years and more.
We see that people all over the world have used lights to lift their spirits during the dark winter and have celebrated it as different festivals of lights. Also dark winter is when, one can see and truly enjoy the beauty of the lights.
With this knowledge let us all together, celebrate this whole coming month as the festival of lights and spread the joy and enlightenment that lights usher in.