Kartik Purnima is one of the most important festivals of the Hindus. It is equally important for the Sikhs and the Jains. Kartik Purnima is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the month of Kartik in Hindu Lunar Calendar. Kartik Purnima is also called Tripuri Purnima or Tripurari Purnima.
Legends associated with Kartik Purnima
It is believed that on this day Lord Vishnu appeared in his first avatar or incarnation. His first avatar of ten primary avatars is the Matsya Avatar or the fish incarnation. He appeared as a giant fish with the torso of a human being to save the first man Manu from the deluge. According to Matsya Purana, Manu was performing religious rituals in Badri forest on the bank of the river. One small fish appears from the river and prays Manu to save it. Manu puts the fish in a jar to save it. Soon the fish outgrows the jar and asks Manu to put it in a tank, which Manu does. Later the fish outgrows the tank and is shifted to the river and from the river, it is shifted to the ocean, when it outgrows even the river. Manu finds Lord Vishnu in the fish. The fish asks Manu to build a huge ship and collect seeds of all plants and species of animals. The fish also asks Manu to bring along the seven sages, the Sapt Rishis as there was going to be a great flood in the area. When the floods come, the fish holds the hook of the ship and saves it from the floods and gives the responsibility of creation to Manu.
According to another legend, Lord Shiva destroyed the three cities named Tripursituated in the space and built by three demon brothers, who were giving pain to the people and sages. He destroyed the three cities with one arrow and saved the creatures from their torment. He was given the title of Tripurantka or Tripurari by the Gods for destroying Tripur and killing the demons. All Gods and people were happy and jubilant and they started celebrating this day as Tripuri Purnima and lighted lamps to celebrate the day that is why this day is also celebrated as Dev Diwali.
Significance of Kartik Purnima
Secondly, Lord Shiva killed three sons of Taraksur and destroyed their three cities named Tripur and saved the world from their tortures. Kartik Purnima is the most important Shiva festival after Maha Shivaratri.
For the Sikhs, the day is very important as their first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev was born on this day.
Thirdly, Kartikeya, the first son of Lord Shiva was born on this day, so people worship Kartikeya the God of War. This is also the birthday of Vrinda, who took birth as Tulsi.
On this day Lord Krishna and Radha danced that is called Ras Leela, and Lord Krishna worshipped Radha, depicting the importance of women folk in the life of a man.
Rituals and celebrations on Kartik Purnima
People visit Tirth to take a holy bath. They worship Lord Vishnu, Krishan and Radha on this day. They do acts of philanthropy as it is believed that the fruit of ant religious act or act of charity grows manyfold if done on this day. Annakut or food is offered to the deities and taken as prasad by the devotees. The pious month of Kartik comes to end with this Purnima.
In the South, people worship Lord Kartikeya on his birthday. He is the main deity in the southern parts of India as South India is believed to be his abode.
The city of Varanasi come alive with the lighting of thousands of lamps to celebrate Dev Deepawali. In Pushkar, Rajasthan a fair starts on Dev Prabodhini Ekadashi and culminates on this day.