Karthik Poornima is an auspicious day which is observed on the full moon day of the Indian month of Kartik. People from various communities – Hindus, Jains and Sikhs – observe this day with much reverence.

According to the Hindu traditions discussed below, the day is also known as Tripuri or Tripurari Poornima. Some people also believe that this is the day on which the Gods in Heaven celebrate the Festival of Lights, and as such call the day by the name of Deva Deewali/ Deepawali.

Hindu Beliefs and Observances:

    • Tripurari is a name by which Lord Shiva is known, for he killed the demon Tripurasura, on the day of Kartik Poornima. Tripurasura was the demon son of Tarakasura, who had conquered the whole world and was responsible for destructive activities. The day marks Lord Shiva’s victory over the evil force. As such the day also gets the name of Tripuri or Tripurari Poornima. The day was a joyous one for the Gods and they declared it to be the festival of lights where from the ritual of lighting lamps on this day originates. Because of this ritual, the day is also known as Deva Deewali/ Deepawali.


    • To observe the Deva Deewali, people light lamps all through the nights at temples and homes. The ghaats of the holy river Ganges in Varanasi especially come alive with thousands of such illuminations along with prayer offerings made at the site.


    • This day is believed to be the birth day of the God of Wards, Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva.


    • This is the day when Lord Vishnu appeared in his Matsya (fish) incarnation.


    • This day marks the end of the four months of penance known as the Chaturmaas. To mark this occasion fairs are organized in some places, the famous among them being the ones at Pandharpur and Pushkar. At Pushkar, the fair also honors Lord Brahma whose temple is located there, and it is considered highly meritorious to take a holy dip at the Pushkar Lake.


    • A ritual called Annakuta is prescribed for this occasion where food offerings are made to the deities. This day is considered to be auspicious to conduct charitable deeds. People donate cows and offer food or alms to the Brahmins and the needy.


    • This is also a day to show reverence ritualistically to dead ancestors.


    • This is the day when Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, is believed to have worshipped his consort Radha after dancing Raasa with her.


    • This is also the birthday of Vrinda, who is considered to be Tulsi personified. As such, this is the last day for the year when Tulsi Vivaha can be performed.


Reverence in Sikhism:

This day coincides with the Sikh Festival of Guru Nanak Gurupurab, the birth anniversary of the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak was born on Kartik Poornima in 1469 AD and this day is celebrated with much reverence by Sikhs as Guru Nanak Jayanti. Even Nanakpanthi Hindus and other people who follow the philosophies preached by Guru Nanak observe this day.

Special prayers are organized at the Gurdwaras to mark the occasion along with non-stop recital of Guru Granth Sahib and devotional singing. Nagar Keertans (procession with devotional singing) are organized. People take part in community meals at Gurdwaras where free food is given to everyone, especially the needy.

Jain Faith and Rituals:

Kartik Poornima ends the four month period of retreat for the Jain monks, which is known as Chaturmaas. It is on this day, according to Jain belief, that the first Jain Tirthankara, Adinath, undertook the journey to the Shatrunjay Hills of Palitana region to deliver his first sermon.

Millions of monks are believed to have attained salvation on these hills. On this day thousands of Jain pilgrims visit the location undertaking a journey which is known as Shri Shantrunjay Teerth Yatra. Devotees walk on bare foot 216 kms of rocky mountain terrains to reach the temple of Lord Adinath that is perched on top of the hill.


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