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Traditional Kerala : Day of Lights – “thrikkarthika” Day in Kerala

Updated on November 3, 2019

Traditional Kerala : Day of lights – “Thrikkarthika” day in Kerala

Thrikkarthika is one of the celebration in Kerala. It's known as various names in Kerala, "Thrikkarthika", "Karthika Deepam","Karthika vilakku" and so on. This celebration falls in the Kerala Malayalam schedule month vrishchikam and collaborates on star day "Karthika". It is a propitious day for the malayalees. In our families, we celebrate it by illuminating the lights, particularly manchirathu (clay lights). Many people from different states also celebrate this celebration.


Pic : Clay lamps
Pic : Clay lamps

It is believed that this day was especially liked by the Goddess and their powers were at its peak. Hindu devotees believe that Lord Subrahmanya born on this day. It is basically on the full moon day (Pournami).

In each custom, there may be some sort of legends and stories behind it. Karthika Deepam additionally has numerous accounts related with it. I know one famous story related to this. As per the Hindu folklore, Tridev is in charge of the creation, upkeep and annihilation of everything that take place in the universe. Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva is known as Tridev.

Lord Brahma and Vishnu had a quarrel on who's more powerful and superior. Their argument to prove who's better led to a fight and they were both neglecting their responsibilities. In order to stop the dispute, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a fire challenged them to find either the top or bottom of the fire to be deemed as the greatest. Immediately, Lord Brahma took the form of a bird and started to fly up to find the top while Lord Vishnu assumed the appearance of a boar and dug deep to find the bottom. Both their efforts proved to be futile, as Lord Shiva (fire) continued to grow in size. In the end, they gave up and admitted Lord Shiva's supremacy.
The day this incident took place was on the full moon of Karthigai month and later it's believed that Lord Shiva appeared as a hill at Thiruvannamalai, Tamilnadu(India). Till today, the Shivan temple in Thiruvannamalai holds grand Karthigai Deepam celebration.


For this purpose, we generally use a clay lamp (manchirath) and Kerala bronze lamp in houses. But now, because of the busy life, we can see candles replacing a distinctive place at home that day instead of clay lamps.

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    • Luis G Asuncion profile image

      Luis G Asuncion 

      4 months ago from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines

      I've learned a lot from your beliefs. Thanks for sharing.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Very informative and respectful. And beautiful. I love your writing style. You are a very talented writer. Take care and enjoy HubPages.

    • Zombie-Gamer profile image

      Elaine Byers 

      6 months ago

      Thank you for this very informative article !

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      6 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello Nisha, as Virginia's asked about the food, I'll ask you to expand for the benefit of us Westerners what time of the year the festival takes place in terms of January to December, and what part of the month. Some time in the near future someone will read this and say to themselves, "Wonder when in the year this is?" with a view to paying a visit to Kerala - and a map might come in handy, along with the nearest airports. Travel broadens the mind, and maps help us get there.

      What else have you in store for us?

    • Nisha Nair04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Nisha Nair04 

      6 months ago

      Thanks Virginia. Yes, we have special food for this special day. I will surely add that info.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 months ago from Central Florida

      All the lights are very pretty. Do you have special foods for this time as well?

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      7 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Beautiful pictures of the wonderful traditions of Kerala. Thanks for sharing the details about this tradition and thanks for the follow.

      Welcome to HubPages and Wish you great times ahead.

    • Nisha Nair04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Nisha Nair04 

      7 months ago

      Thank you hmkrishna

    • hmkrishna profile image

      Halemane Muralikrishna 

      7 months ago from South India

      Hi Nisha, you are upholding Kerala tradition. Great

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