Kartik Purnima Festival, India

Kartik Purnima is a festival celebrated by both Hindus and Jain people on the fifteenth lunar day in the month of Kartik. As Kartik Purnima has a long, rich history, it is commonly believed that the day's name comes from Tripurari, a foe of the ogre Tripurasura. Tripurari is another form of God Shiva, and according to tradition, he killed Tripurasura on Kartik Purnima. After vanquishing the gods and establishing Tripura, three cities in space, the three demons Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha, and Viryavana had full control of Earth. Shiva had used a single arrow to defeat the demons on this particular day. This act of deed had impressed the gods so much that it became the festival of illumination, so it is also known as Diwali for the Gods or Dev-Diwali.

There are other references to Kartik Purnima as well. In addition, it marks the birth of Vrinda, the personification of Tulsi, as well as the festival of Matsya, the fish-incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The day also marked the birth of Shiva's son and the god of war, Kartikeya. Rasa dance is believed by devotees of Radha and Krishna to be performed on Kartik Purnima. Festivals such as this are closely linked to Prabodhini Ekadashi. Kartik Purnima concludes many of the fairs which begin on Prabodhini Ekadashi. It is typically considered the most auspicious of the holy dips to take Kartik snana', the holy dip in the Ganges observance of Vishnu. The deities are offered offerings in several temples. The act of abstaining from shaving and cutting of trees is called Annakuta.

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