Karthigai Deepam ( கார்த்திகை தீபம்) festival is celebrated mainly in Tamil Nadu, on Poornima ( full moon day) of the tamizh month Karthigai (mid-November to mid-December) as per Tamil calendar. This tradition can be roughly described as Diwali of the South India, observed in every home and every temple. Image source: The Hindu
Also see this:
When is Karthigai Deepam 2013
Kathigai Deepam Recipes
As per Wiki
Lord Shiva appeared as an endless flame of light before Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, who each considered himself supreme and said that the matter could be tested if the two could search for Lord Shiva's Head and feet. Lord Vishnu took the form of a boar(Sanskrit:Varaha, Tamil:Varahan) and delved deep into the earth, Lord Brahma that of a swan(Sanskrit:Hamsa, Tamil:Annam) and flew towards the skies. Lord Vishnu failed in his search and returned. But Lord Brahma, chancing upon a piece of Thazhambu, a flower, learnt from it that it had been floating down for thirty thousand years from Lord Shiva's head. He seized upon this and claimed to Lord Shiva that he had seen the other's top. Lord Siva realized the falsehood and pronounced that there would never be a temple for Lord Brahma in this world. He also interdicted the use of the flower Thazhambu in his worship. Lord Shiva appeared as a flame, this day is called Maha Deepam.
Karthigai Deepam and Thiruvanamalai
Celebrations of Karthigai festival is extremely famous in Tiruvannamalai hills. It is celebrated as a ten day festival and is refereed to as Karthigai Brahmotsavam.
From the Thiruvannamalai website:
Karthigai Deepam festival starts at around four o'clock in the early hours and the Bharani Deepam is lit at the temple. In the evening the Mahadeepam is lit on the top of the hill at around six o clock. Arunachaleswarar is said to be visually represented in the form of agni on the hill top. There is a very mammoth gathering on this day at the Arunachaleswarar temple to witness this glorious and sacred event. The night ceremony starts with Lord Periya nayagar going out procession on the Rishaba vahanam that is made of gold. Theppal - Lord Chandrasekarar, Lord Parasakthi,Lord Subramaniar goes in the boat and this is called Theppam, since it carried out in the tank. Lord Arunachaleswarar goes procession round the hill, known as Girivalam or pradhiksahana. With this ceremony the Karthigai Deepam festival at Arunachaleswarar temple comes to a grand conclusion with the devotees taking back home some divine blessings and memories from this ancient holy city Tiruvannamalai.
Karthigai Deepam - How is it Celebrated?
Since this is a festival of light, the whole house is decorated with the oil lamps called as "Agal Vizhakku". These lamps are considered as an auspicious symbol wherein lighting them depicts warding off darkness (in essence: evil and dark forces) with light (representing joy, goodness and prosperity). The whole Karthigai month is considered auspicious and lamps are lit throughout the month and Kolams (rangoli) are drawn in front of the houses. Few traditional recipes are a must during this occasion and they are as below:
Traditional Karthigai Deepam Festival Recipes
Optional Recipes to make during Karthigai Deepam