New Delhi, Nov 12: On the auspicious month's last day- Karthik Purnima India is celebrating three pious festivals- Karthik Purnima, Dev Deepawali and Gurupurab. Today is the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, this is one of the most auspicious festivals celebrated by the Sikh community. In other parts of India, this day is also celebrated as Karthik Purnima and Dev Deepawali.
The Guru Nanak Jayanti is also called as 'Guru Nanak's Prakash Utsav' or 'Guru Nanak Gurpurab'. This is one of the most sacred festivals in Sikhism as it is the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji (first Sikh guru).
The celebrations usually commence with Prabhat Pheris. Prabhat Pheris are early morning processions that begin at the Gurudwaras and proceed around the localities singing hymns.
The Dev Deepawali is celebrated every year at the holy city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh with great enthusiasm and religious fervor. It falls on the full moon of the Hindu month of Karthika (November - December) and takes place fifteen days after Diwali.
Devotees on this religious day gather in huge numbers in a flock at the ghats of rivers- Ganga, Saryu, Mandakini, Yamuna and Ghaghara to take a holy dip on this occasion at different places of the state including Mathura, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Ayodhya, Chitrakoot, Bareilly and Garh Mukteshwar along with others.
Karthik Snan (holy bath)
On this day the main rituals performed by devotees consist of karthik snan (holy bath); the Ghats (banks of the rivers) shines bright as devotees set afloat oil lamps in the holy water of Ganga for their Gods according to their beliefs. And finally, the Ganga aarti is performed in the evening.
According to Hindu mythology, the significance of Dev Deepavali is that the Gods descend on the Earth on this grand instance. People celebrate Dev Deepawali to mark the victory of Lord Shiva over demon Tripurasur.
Hence Dev Deepawali Utsav is also known as Tripurotsav or Tripurari Purnima which is observed on the auspicious day of Kartik Purnima.
People in the other parts of the country celebrate Kartik Purnima. It is closely associated with Prabodhini Ekadashi which marks the end of Chaturmas, a four-month period when Vishnu is believed to sleep.
Prabodhini Ekadashi signifies the awakening of the god. Chaturmas penance ends on this day.
Boita Bandana (Set aloating boats)
In Odisha, Kartik Purnima is celebrated with great enthusiasm. On this day people celebrate Boita Bandana (set afloating boats). People head towards any nearest water body to set afloat miniature boats, originally made out of banana stem and coconut stick, lit with Deepak (lamps), fabric, betel leaves.
(Boita) stands for boat or ship. The festival is a mass commemoration of the state's glorious maritime history when it was known as Kalinga and tradesmen and mariners known as sadhabas traveled on boitas to trade with distant island nations that share borders with the Bay of Bengal like Indonesia, Java, Sumatra and Bali.
In West Bengal this day people worship Hindu god of war Kartikeya puja. On this festival every year, youths and adults in the neighbourhood identify households and childless couples, buy Karthik idols and place them at their doorstep at the middle of the night. This practice still continues with much fanfare. Here it is beleived that offering puja to Lord Karthik will increase the chances of getting a child.
In Tamil Nadu, Karthikai Deepam is celebrated where the Purnima corresponds to the Krittika nakshatra. People light rows of lamps on their balconys. In Tiruvannamalai, a ten-day annual festival is held to celebrate Karthikai Deepam.
In Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karthika Maasalu (Karthika month) is considered very auspicious.
Thus, India today is celebrated three different festivals- Karthik Purnima, Dev Deepawali and Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurupurab.