Karthigai Deepam or the festival Lights is celebrated in Tamil Nadu
from the days of Tolkappiam. Every house is illuminated with a large number
of flat earthen lamps and there is great rejoicing, children using
crackers and lighting lamps.
Vaishnavites in some areas of Tamil Nadu
use a type of light prepared by themselves to illuminate their homes.
It is called Pori Vaanam and is made of a stick called Kavattaik-kambu
with cloth, cloth rope, saw-dust, konkani resin and Maruthankai being
the fruit of Maruda trees. This combination produces a sparkling
light . Elephant shaped lights (made by the potters) are sent
by parents to their daughters on this occasion.
This day comes in November-December on the Karthigai
constellation day is specially important to Thiruvannamalai. Birth in
Tiruvarur, death at Varanasi, worship at Chidambaram give salvation
to human beings. At Thiruvannamalai, Shiva is supposed to have appeared
as a pillar of fire, one of the five elements, on the Karthigai day. The
local hills is said to been established by God, so that the holyday
may be observed in perpetuity, by the annual appearance of a blaze of
light at the top, witnessed by the presiding deity, Arunachaleswarar
Karthigai synchronises with the full moon and people
greet the deity with shouts of Annamalaiyarku Arohara. In
a big copper urn, large quantities of high quality camphour ghee
and wicks are placed and as the flame is lighted on the hill at
5.00 pm, ignorance fades to merge with God in glory.
A large cattle fair is held in Thiruvannamalai
for ten days along with this festival. On the important days, the deities
are taken round in procession on various types of ornamental
vehicles, these procession are rare sights.