The most sacred of all the months in the Hindu calendar, the month of Kartik falls between the November-December months according to the Gregorian calendar.
The festival of Kartik Purnima is one of the most auspicious festivals for the Hindu community and is celebrated on the 15th day of the bright fortnight of the Kartik month. This is the only month when deities Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are both celebrated together.
The day unites the different communities in India since the festival coincides with the Sikh festival, Guru Nanak Jayanti, and is even considered an important day in the Jain community.
The festival is also popularly known as ‘Tripuri Purnima’ or ‘Tripurari Purnima’, which celebrates the victory of Lord Shiva over the demon Tripurasara.
Kartik Purnima coincides with the festival of ‘Dev Deepavali’. According to the Hindu legend, on this day, Gods and Goddesses descended to Earth to take a bath in the holy rivers. And so, by taking a holy dip in these rivers, or by praying to the Gods and lighting earthen diyas for them, devotees receive their divine blessings.
There is a lot of spiritual as well as religious significance attached to the festival of Kartik Purnima. Devotees believe that worshipping Lord Vishnu on this day can bring immense fortune.
This festival is also celebrated as the birthday of the Tulsi plant.
Many worshipers even believe that performing puja, doing daan (charity), and by taking the Holy Snan (Holy bath in the river Ganges) on Kartik Purnima is equivalent to doing 100 Ashvamedha Yagya. One can achieve the 4 main goals of life; Artha (meaning or purpose), Dharma (virtuousness and morality), Karma (sensuality and emotional fulfilment), and Moksha (liberation and self-actualisation) on this day.
Kartik Purnima also has astrological significance. The planet Mercury is considered to be represented by Lord Vishnu, while planet Venus is represented by Goddess Lakshmi. Thus, astrologers believe that by worshipping the great Lord and the powerful Goddess on this day, planets Mercury and Venus in your natal chart can get empowered. This will enhance your intelligence, logic thinking and understanding, and bring you more opportunities to increase your fortune.
As part of the traditions, on the day of Kartik Purnima, a sacred bath (known as Kartik Snaan) at pilgrimage places is performed at the time of sunrise on the morning and moonrise in the evening by the devotees. Lord Vishnu is worshipped, and idols of the deity are decorated with flowers, incense sticks, and lamps.
The festival is believed to be the only day when both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are worshipped together. And so, the temples of Lord Shiva are also brightly illuminated.
Devotees donate earthen lamps, recite Vedic mantras and bhajans to seek blessings from the Gods.
During Kartik Purnima, the marriage ceremony of Lord Vishnu with Devi Vrinda (Tulsi plant) is also performed.
Many devotees even perform the Satya Narayana Swamy Vrat and recite the Satya Narayana Katha on Kartik Purnima to please Lord Vishnu.
In Cuttack, Odisha, huge idols of Lord Kartikeshwara are built and beautifully decorated and worshipped on this day. After the day’s processions and rituals, the idols are immersed in river Mahanadi.