Why Dev Deepawali is celebrated on Kartik Purnima?

dev deepawali

GeneralWritten By: Sreeparna Sarkar

There is nearly no time left before Varanasi, the sacred and ancient city of India, prepares for its most significant festival of the year - Dev Deepawali. Being one of the lesser-known yet spectacular festivals of India, Dev Deepawali is celebrated on a smaller scale in certain parts of the country including parts of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. This “another Diwali” is observed just after fifteen days of Deepawali (Diwali) or the Festival of Lights when the entire country remains under the hangover of the crackers, fireworks, and the grandeur of the celebration. 
While the darkest Amavasya (New Moon) night of Deepawali enlivens with millions of “Diyas” and crackers, the glorious Purnima or Full Moon on Dev Deepawali adds a contrary but unique dimension to the celebration of lights with the rows of twinkling earthen “Diyas” floating along the Holy River Ganges. Both the Deepawali and Dev Deepawali are a festival of lights but each has its own opulence and significance according to the Hindu legends. 
Let us take you on the journey of untangling the spiritual connections of this "another Diwali" celebrated on the full moon night of the holy month of Kartik. 

Dev Deepawali – when the Gods celebrate Diwali: 
Several concepts and mythological stories are revolving around the festivity of Dev Deepawali for ages. Some believe that on this auspicious night, Lord Shiva defeated the evil monarchs who controlled the flying “Three Cities”; while others believe that on this day, all the Gods come down to Earth to accept offerings. Whatever be the reason behind this, Dev Deepawali is a propitious festival when lakhs of devotees light up the houses, buildings, streets, and riverbanks with millions of earthen lamps or “Diyas” to honour their ancestors and the Gods. 
The celebration is followed by two important rituals, known as - “Kartik Snan” and “Deepdaan”. A number of devotees take a dip in the Holy Ganges on Kartik Purnima, which is known as “Kartik Snan”. According to Hindu culture, the Holy Ganges allegedly cleanses the sins and brings happiness and prosperity to those who take the plunge. Then in the evening, “Deepdaan” is celebrated under the full moon, which reflects off the sparkling holy waters when thousands of "Diyas" and earthen lamps are lit everywhere as the ancient Vedic chants fill the air. 

Kartik Purnima – the day of Liberation: 
The month of Kartik (October – November) is auspicious for several reasons as the legends say. Apart from its religious and cultural significance, the "Kartik Masam" marks a transitional phase in life when we experience a seasonal shift within ourselves towards a time to harvest whatever we have cultivated throughout the year. The sublime full moon on the day of Kartik Purnima is a day to experience liberation (Moksha) from the sins. This is the time when all the Gods are believed to have descended on Earth to restore salvation among the devotees and ensure liberation (Moksha) from all their sins. Lighting a lamp on Kartik Purnima is our ancient culture for the enhancement of human beings to reach their ultimate prosperity. 
According to the ancient tradition, one needs to multiply the number of lamps being lit every day in Kartik as the days start getting shorter every day throughout the month. If perceived closely, this ritual also emphasizes the importance of multiplying the lamp we have in our life for enough light to illuminate the soul. Because it is “Light” that makes us see, experience, and set our perception towards the world around us. After all, "Light" is where we all come from. It is the source of enlightenment, self-awareness, and ultimate liberation.
In a nutshell: 
Being a country brimming with cultural diversity and tradition, India highlights a variety of cultural festivals in every nook and corner  of the country. There was a time in ancient India when there used to be a festival every single day of the year, making our whole life a celebration. With time, when modern civilization took root, we slowly pruned our centuries-old culture to accommodate the ever-evolving fast-paced world leaving only seven or eight annual festivals to celebrate with all vigour. However, the grand celebration of Dev Deepawali in Varanasi is a symbol of our spiritual and cultural heritage defining our roots - who we have been and what makes us who we are today. 

TAGS - festival of lights

See Also - Dev Deepawali: When Gods Descend From Heavens to the Ghats of Varanasi