Kartika is the eighth lunar month in the Hindu calendar. The Purnima which occurs during the month of Kartika is known as Kartik Purnima/ Kartik Poornima. The celebrations of Kartik Purnima begins on the day of Prabodhini Ekadashi also known as Devuthanna Ekadashi. As Ekadashi is the eleventh day and Purnima is the fifteenth day of Kartika month, therefore, Kartika Purnima is celebrated for five days. Kartika Purnima is very significant as many rituals and festivals conclude on this day. Kartika Purnima is also known as Tripuri Purnima or Tripurari Purnima.
The festivities of Kartik Purnima celebrated for five days include:
- Tulsi Vivah
- Bhishma Panchaka
- Vaikunth Chaturdashi
- Dev Diwali
- Tulsi Vivah generally begins on the day of Prabodhini Ekadashi and ends on the day of Kartik Purnima. According to the Hindu scriptures, Tulsi Vivah can be celebrated on any feasible day between the Ekadashi and Kartik Purnima, in the Hindu kartik month. A majority of people, perform the marriage rituals of Goddess Tulsi with Lord Shaligram, representation of Lord Vishnu, on the day of Kartik Purnima.
- Bhishma Panchaka fast starts with Prabodhini Ekadashi, and concludes on the day of Kartik Purnima. According to the Vaishnava culture, Bhishma Panchak fasting during the last five days of Kartik month, holds great importance. It is also called as Vishnu Panchaka.
- Vaikunth Chaturdashi Puja is performed one day prior to Kartik Purnima. Geneally, the devotees of Lord Vishnu observe fast on this day. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu used to worship Lord Shiva on the day of Vaikunth Chaturdashi, during shukla Paksha, by offering him one thousand lotus flowers. Shiva temples on this day perform special Puja where Lord Vishnu is worshipped along with Lord Shiva. It is on this day that devotees observe the Kartik Purnima Ganga Snan by taking a dip in the holy Ganges at Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi before Sunrise.
- Dev Diwali commonly known as Diwali of Gods is celebrated on the day of Kartik Purnima. Ancient Hindu scriptures describe that Tripurasura demon was killed by Lord Shiva on this day, and this is the reason that Kartik Purnima is also known as Tripurari Purnima in marathi. Legends describe that Gods were overjoyed with the death of Tripurasura and hence celebrated Kartik Purnima just like Diwali, by lighting earthen diyas in all the temples and at the bank of river Ganga.
Kartik Purnima Significance
As per the Hindu mythology, this day of Kartik Poornima is religiously and spiritually significant. It is believed that performing Kartik Snan and worshipping Lord Vishnu on this day, blesses the devotees with immense fortune. Kartik Purnima is considered as one of the most auspicious days for performing religious ceremonies, and it is believed that auspicious ceremonies performed on this day brings joy and happiness. It is also believed that performing Kartik Snan during Kartik month is equivalent to performing 100 Ashvamegha Yagya.
Kartik Purnima Vrat
Devotees of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, observe fast on the day of Kartik Purnima, and begin their day by taking a holy bath early in the morning and reading the Kartik Purnima Vrat Katha. This katha explains the story of the end of demon Tripurasura. Ancient Hindu scriptures describe that once upon a time, a demon named Tripurasura succeeded in defeating the Gods and ultimately conquering the entire World. It is believed that he created three cities in space and named them as Tripura. At this time, Lord Shiva came to rescue the Deva’s and killed this demon with an arrow and announced that this day be celebrated as festival of lights and illumination.
Kartik Purnima is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Vrinda, personification of Tulsi plant. This day also marks the birthday of Matsya, the fish incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Kartikey, son of Lord Shiva was also born on this day. The last five days of the Kartik month as considered to be the most sacred days and devotees observe fast by eating only once a day, in the afternoon, which is known as Habisha.
It is rightly stated in the Hindu scriptures, that Kartik Purnima Vrat and Puja provides a way to Artha, Dharma, Karma and Salvation.
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Kartik Purnima Rituals
On this day of Kartik Purnima, taking a sacred bath at places of pilgrimage, known as ‘Kartik Snan’ at the time of sunrise and moonrise, is considered to be highly sacred. Lord Vishnu is worshipped with flowers, diyas and incense sticks. Devotees generally observe fast on this day and recite the Satyanarayan Vrat Katha after performing Rudrabhishek. Kartik Purnima also marks the marriage ceremony of Lord Vishnu and Devi Vrinda, and to celebrate this festivity, Kartik Purnima Mela is organized in Pushkar, known as Pushkar fair, during the Kartik month. This fair concludes on the day of Kartik Purnima with devotees taking the sacred dip on the Pushkar Lake for seeking Salvation.