Karthigai Deepam is a festival of lights that has been celebrated across Tamil Nadu during the month Karthigai for over 2000 years. It is actually an extension of Deepavali which happened earlier. It occurs during our November or December and is named for the constellation Karthigai and lights, or Deepam, which is an auspicious symbol in India. Lighting the lamps is believed to bring prosperity and happiness as well as to ward off evil spirits.

 

Oil lamps made from brass lit to celebrate Karthika Deepam.

Oil lamps made from brass lit to celebrate Karthika Deepam.

 

To celebrate this festival, people light lamps in their homes and make them visible in the windows and on balconies. People draw kolams (geometric designs drawn in chalk) outside their front door. Often they place one or two lamps on it. Lamps can be seen up and down every street. 

This kolam was drawn with chalk outside our neighbor's door in Chennai.

This kolam was drawn with chalk outside our neighbor’s door in Chennai.

 

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