The Festival of Lights is celebrated with great piety and fervour in all parts of South Kerala including Munnar. If you thought the festival being referred to here is Diwali, then you are absolutely wrong! It is not Diwali. The festival is known as Thrikarthika-The Festival of Lights.
When is the Thrikarthika Festival Celebrated
The Thrikarthika festival is celebrated in the month of Vrischikam as per the Malayalam calendar. It is celebrated when the star Kartika or Karthika Nakshatra is ascendant in the sky. Based on the appearance of the star the festival is usually celebrated on a full moon day between November to December.
How is the Thrikarthika Festival Celebrated
The festivities start a day prior to the designated festival day. Residents clean and decorate their houses in anticipation of the festival. People buy new clothes and gifts for each other. On the festival day after sunset the region erupts into dazzling brilliance. Individual homes, temples, streets and squares are bathed in the ethereal glow of a million oil lamps. The clay lamps with their wicks dipped in oil and small flickering flames collectively seem to transform the darkness into brilliant light. The lamps are placed on banana stems and decorated with coconut leaves.
The festival is also a time to worship domestic animals and cattle. Cowsheds are cleaned and decorated and the animals adorned. As with all major festivals of India, food is an integral part of the Thrikarthika festival and some of the delicacies of Kerala cuisine are cooked in households across the region. One of the traditional dishes that is prepared during the festival of Thrikarthika is known as Karthika Puzzhuku. It is prepared using the tubers grown in the region which include Tapioca, Yam, Colocassia, Sweet Potatoes, etc.. This dish is usually eaten along with some tender coconut water.
What is the Significance of the Thrikarthika Festival?
Though generally the Thrikarthika festival in Munnar, Kerala is not really associated with any specific deity and is more of an obeisance to nature, some believe that the festival is dedicated to Shakti or Bhagvati. It is also believed that the festival is the celebration of the birthday of Parvati, the consort of God Shiva. In neighbouring Tamil Nadu, the festival is dedicated to the worship of Lord Murugan. Whatever be the reason for the celebration of the Thrikarthika festival, it goes without saying that it is an occasion to celebrate the joy of living and be thankful for the bounty of nature. An occasion to spread love and cheer and indulge in friendly camaraderie with family and friends.
Where to Experience the Thrikarthika Festival
Munnar, a place that seems to sway with the trance of the beauty of nature. A region richly covered with plantations of tea, cardamom, and coffee, an exotic place to get lost in the beauty of nature. Munnar also has a rich history and heritage with a vibrant local culture. The vibrancy of the culture is best experienced in its numerous festivals. Festivals like the Munnar Mela, Pongal, Onam, and others keep the region enveloped in an aura of celebration throughout the year. One of the most awaited festival of course is the Thrikarthika festival also referred to as Karthika Vilakku.
Munnar with its backdrop of stunning natural beauty is the ideal place to experience the sheer joy and radiance of the Thrikarthika festival in all its splendour. An experience of the local culture and beliefs that will leave one educated, enriched, and enlightened. To know more about what you can do in Munnar, check out our blog on the top things to do in Munnar. If you love nature, you can easily get back to nature with a quintessential trip to Munnar. Awaiting to drench you with the showers of celebration of the Thrikarthika festival is Sterling Munnar which beckons you to come and experience your holiday differently.