Kartik is the eighth lunar month in Hindu calendar and is also considered one of the holiest months in Hinduism. It holds a special significance as in this month both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are worshipped. It coincides with October or November in the Gregorian calendar. There is also a tradition to take a dip in holy rivers before sunrise. The fifteenth lunar day or Purnima of Kartik month is called as Kartik Purnima and is celebrated by Hindu, Sikh, and Jain as a cultural festival. It is also known as Tripuri Purnima and Tripurari Purnima. The day is also associated with Prabodini Ekadasi which marks the end of Chaturmas, a four-month period when Vishnu is believed to sleep. The day signifies the awakening of the god. In 2018, Kartik Purnima falls on November 23.
Kartik Purnima is the day when Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of Matsya, one of his ten avatars, to rescue Manu, the first man, from a great deluge. Kartik Maas is also known as Damodara Maas, as Damodara is one of Lord Krishna’s names.
Another legend associated with the day is Lord Shiva killing three demons Tripurasura – Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha, and Viryavana. Hence it is also known as Tripura Purnima or Tripurari Purnima. It is believed that Gods celebrate the day in heaven by lighting diyas and hence the day is known as Dev Diwali. People in Varanasi celebrate the day with great joy by making rangolis, lighting diyas in front of the house and on the banks of river Ganga.
There is a ritual to take a holy dip in the Ganges which is known as ‘Kartik Snan’. People also observe a day-long fast and perform Rudra Abhishek of Lord Shiva, by bathing him in milk and honey. Devotees also perform Satya Narayana Vrat on Kartik Purnima.
Tithi (November 23)
Purnima tithi begins: 12:53 pm on November 22
Purnima tithi ends: 11:08 am on November 23