Kartik Purnima 2021: Date, Significance, Rituals and Celebration

Kartik Purnima 2021 Date: Friday, 19 November

Kartik is one of the holiest and the most divine months according to the Hindu calendar. During the month of Kartik, devotees come a long way and take both to rouse themselves in its pious water before sunrise. People gather on the bank of the river Ganga or any of the holy rivers along with their family members to express their gratitude and devotion towards Sun God (Lord Surya). They perform various rituals and customs by offering water to Sun as the festivities begin on the day of ‘Sharad Purnima’ and ends on ‘Kartik Purnima’.

Kartik Purnima is commemorated on the full moon day or on the fifteen lunar days of Shukla Paksha. Kartik month is famed as ‘Damodara’( Lord Krishna) Month, in the Vaishnava region. Peeps also celebrate this eighth lunar month festival with momentous rituals and different names such as ‘Purnimasi’, ‘Pournami’, ‘Tirupari Purnima’ and ‘Poonam’ with great enthusiasm and zeal. Devotees observe fast for the last five days of Kartik Month.

Significance of Kartik Purnima

Lord Vishnu incarnated as Matsya or Matsyavatram on Kartik Purnima. Matsya is said to be Lord Vishnu’s first avatar out of his ten avatars. He took the avatar of a giant fish to rescue the first man, Manu, from a great deluge. Another great legend associated with Kartik Purnima is the episode where Lord Shiva killed the demon king Tripurasura. Hence the name Tripura Purnima or Tipurari Purnima. It is believed that the Devas celebrated the day in heaven by lighting several diyas, hence the day also came to be known as the ‘Deva Deepavali’. People in Varanasi, celebrate the festival by lighting diyas in their houses and around the banks of the river. If you happen to be in Varanasi, don’t forget to go to one of these Ghats to witness this pure visual treat. 

Kartik Month: The five-day festivities

The main celebration commences on the day of Prabodhani Ekadashi which marks the awakening of the gods who all descend on earth and inhabit themselves in the sacred rivers. Predominantly, Kartik Purnima is a five days Festivities as Ekadashi is celebrated on the eleventh day of Shukla Paksha and Purnima on the fifteenth day. Kartik Purnima is way too popular among all the days of Kartik Month as most of the rituals are associated with the fifteenth day of Kartik(full moon day). Intrinsically it is very popular in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, TamilNadu, Kerala and SriLanka folks. This is also a famous festival for ‘Sikh’ and ‘Jain’ people around the world.

Rituals associated with Kartik Purnima

kartik purnima rituals
  • According to Hindu scriptures, it is very apropos to take a ritual bath in river Ganges on this day.
  • Devotees follow a set of rituals and manage a cavalcade by carrying Lord ‘Shiva’ idols and images for immersing them in water after worshiping them.
  • Tulsi Vivah takes place on the last day of this felicitous festival as this day is considered very sacred for the marriage ceremony.
  • Pupils light diyas and earthen lamps to celebrate the victory of Lord Vishnu as it is a belief that he came back to his abode after finishing his exile from.
  • People gather on the bank of holy rivers before sunrise or at the time of moon-rise to worship Lord Shiva.
  • ‘Annakutta’- A type of Prasad is offered to the deities of Lord in the temples.
  • Hindus participate and indulge themselves in ‘Bhandara’ and ‘Anna Daan’ ritual to gain immovable property and prosperity throughout the year.

Festivals associated with Kartik Purnima

Boita Bandhana – Kartik Purnima in Odisha

Boita Bandhana - Kartik Purnima in Odisha

Another story associated with this fest is related to the pre-historic days of Orissa. ‘Boita Bandhan’ is a marine-based ceremony that reminds the bygone days. The sea merchants used to whizz their boats and yachts to different Islands for trading. Their Wives and other female members come and visit them to cheer up on this day. Those customs were followed in ancient times; by now people celebrate this fest by floating colored- paper boats or bark of the Banyan tree in the rivers to recall the old golden days.

Tulsi Vivah

Tulsi vivah

According to the lunar month Festival, this is the Eleventh day of Kartik Month. Mythology says ‘Tulsi Vivah’ can be solemnized on any of the five days of Kartik Month (in between Ekadashi to Purnima). Devotees generally opt Kartik Purnima day to accomplish the various customs and rituals for performing the marriage of Goddess Tulsi and Lord Shaligram, who is an epochal incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Vaikuntha Chaturdashi

lord vishnu and lord shiva

Vaikuntha Chaturdashi is extolled one day before Kartik Purnima. Devotees observe fast and perform predominant Puja ceremony to please Lord Vishnu.

During Shukla Paksha, on the day of Kartik Chaturdashi, Lord Vishnu prayed Lord Shiva and offered thousand Lotus Flowers. Lord Vishnu along with Lord Shiva is worshipped in many Hindu Temples. An Umpteen crowd visit various Ghats in India for a holy dip before Sunrise to offer their reverence.

Dev Diwali

dev diwali

Dev Diwali (Deepawali of Gods) is celebrated on Kartik Purnima. A story is associated with this startling day – A demon named- ‘Tripurasura’ vanquished Gods and conquered over the kingdom. He also created three cities in space, referred to as ‘Tripura’ for a period of time. With a single arrow, Lord Shiva destructed his three cities and killed the cruel demon- Tripurasura at the end. By this victory, Gods celebrated this day as a fest in Contentment, which is also known as ‘Tripuri Purnima and Tripurari Purnima’.

Hence, the day has been embellished with the joy and gleams in the victory of the Lord and thus Kartik Purnima is celebrated as the day of Lights. And, on the day of Kartik Purnima, Peeps kindle earthen lamps and ‘Diyas’ to remove anguish over hope and the darkness over the light on the bank of the rivers.

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