Kaarthigai. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Kaarthigai month which coincides with Krithikai star. It is also considered as the extension of the Deepavali festival.
Some celebrate bharani deepam,annamalai deepam,sarvalaya deepam & so on.We usually light lamps 3 days.For us the sarvalaya deepam is on 10th of december.
It is celebrated in a spectacular way in Thiruvannamalai. Lots n lots of devotees saying lord shivas chant on the girivallam on this spl occassion.This is very spl bcoz Lord Shiva asks Lord
Brahma and Lord Vishnu to find out the exact location of his head and his feet.
Since Lord Shiva takes a gigantic form, they are not able to find out anywhere. Then Lord Shiva takes the form of a jyothi on the hill of Thiruvannamali. Therefore, this festival is also known as Annamalai Deepam. Here, a special torch is lighted on the zenith of the hill and it is believed that Lord Shiva's jothi will be visible on this day.
On this day, we clean the house,in the evening, we put kolams (rangoli) in the front of the house and also place some lamps on it. The lamps(Agal vilakku) are placed in the pooja and lighted. Then the Deeparathana is done in which the lamps are moved to different places in the house.
Way back in chennai, west mambalam streets are totally lit by these lamps. The lamps are arranged near the doors and windows,in the compound walls and also in the balconies.As my mom does, I light the lamps thru' out my house including bathrooms.
Special neivedyams for this festival are Nel Pori urundai,Aval(poha) pori urundai ,manohara urundai,kadala urundai,appam,payasam and much more snacking items.
Wish you all Happy Kaathigai :)
Photos coming shortly........