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The shekere is a handmade rattle. It consists of a hollow gourd or calabash, covered on the outside with a net of seeds, beads, shells, or any available material. Although its origins are West African, today it is found in the Americas and Caribbean as well.
The calabash or gourd (as it's commonly known in the United States) is a functional creation of nature with a wide variety of uses and traditions in cultures around the world. A fruit of varied shape and size, it commonly grows on a vine not unlike the squash, but there are also varieties that grow on bushes and trees. In so-called "third world" countries the calabash was historically used as a container for water, and still is an essential utensil in many parts of the world. In rural areas of the U.S., they are often used as birdhouses. Throughout Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean and the Americas, gourds are used as resonators for musical instruments.

"Shekere" is a general name to describe the beaded gourd rattle. It comes in many shapes and sizes, is played in a variety of styles, and has many different names. In Africa it is found primarily, but not exclusively, in the countries of Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire (there are many parts of Africa where you will not hear this instrument). Different language groups in each country often have their own names, styles, techniques, and traditions associated with the shekere.

In Nigeria, the very large beaded calabash is called an "agbe", and traditionally is owned and played only by professional musicians (Olatunji, Music in African Life). It is a personal instrument and never loaned of shared, even with family members. However, a son who is a professional musician may inherit his father's agbe. Shekeres among the Yeruba of Nigeria are often connected with religion, given great respect, and play a very important role in certain traditional musical forms.

Throughout West Africa you will also a smaller gourd, covered with a woven net which is tied off at the bottom, leaving a tail of loose strings. In Ghana and Togo among the Ewe language group it is known as the "axatse" and is often used to accompany a drum or bell orchestra on important occasions. In Sierra Leone you will find a similar type of shekere with a very loose net an long tail, often called a "shake-shake" or "shaburay".

When African slaves were taken to the "New World," they carried with them many of these rich musical traditions, which took root in varying degrees in different parts of the Americas and the Caribbean. In Cuba, Youruba religious traditions using drums and shekeres are found almost completely intact - with similar rhythmic patterns, names of instruments and accompanying chants. Brazilians sometimes use a beaded (with seeds) coconut called "afuxe" similar in name and style to the Ghanian "axatse". In the United States the shekere and other African related instruments continue to grown in popularity and are rapidly becoming part of our contemporary musical expression.

 It is used for rhythmic accompaniment. This instrument has one head that is resonated by plucking the string that is attached to it. Dating some 500 years back, the khamak originally had a single string but was later modified and now contains two strings. The player holds the body of the instrument under his left arm while his left hand pulls the small brass drum, jerking it slightly, almost unnoticeably. This controls the tension on the strings and sets the fundamental tone of the melody when the strings are plucked....the performer plucks them briskly with the plectrum held in his right hand. However, the fundamental tone produced does not remain fixed and completely depends on the tension applied to the strings.
Banjira Khamak

See Article History
Stringed instrument, any musical instrument that produces sound by the vibration of stretched strings, which may be made of vegetable fibre, metal, animal gut, silk, or artificial materials such as plastic or nylon. In nearly all stringed instruments the sound of the vibrating string is amplified by the use of a resonating chamber or soundboard. The string may be struck, plucked, rubbed (bowed), or, occasionally, blown (by the wind); in each case the effect is to displace the string from its normal position of rest and to cause it to vibrate in complex patterns.

Because most stringed instruments are made from wood or other easily perishable materials, their history before written documentation is almost unknown, and contemporary knowledge of “early” instruments is limited to the ancient cultures of East Asia and South Asia, the Mediterranean, Egypt, and Mesopotamia; but even for these places historians must depend largely on iconographic (pictorial) sources rather than surviving specimens.

Stringed instruments seem to have spread rapidly from one society to another across the length and breadth of Eurasia by means of great population shifts, invasions and counterinvasions, trade, and, presumably, sheer cultural curiosity. In the Middle Ages the Crusades (late 11th through the late 13th century) stimulated Europe to adopt a whole set of new instruments; similarly, the Chinese adopted many new instruments from their Central Asian neighbours as Buddhism spread eastward and as the Han Chinese expanded their influence across the region (roughly, the 3rd century BCE to the 10th century CE). Indeed, the only world area that did not echo to the sound of strings was the pre-Columbian Americas.

No system of classification can adequately categorize the interactions of natural material, craftsmanship, and exuberant imagination that produced an endless variety of stringed instruments. In the West the most widely accepted system of classification is that developed by E.M. von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs, a method based on the type of material that is set into vibration to produce the original sound. Thus, stringed instruments are identified as chordophones—that is to say, instruments in which the sound is produced by the vibration of chords, or strings. This main category is then further divided into four subtypes—lutes, zithers, lyres, and harps—according to the manner in which the strings are positioned in relation to the body of the instrument. Within these categories, the descriptive nomenclature of an instrument is given in terms of parts of the body: for example, the belly (front; soundboard), back, sides, and neck. Instruments are not necessarily related only to others in the same classification. Transformations continually occur, and “hybrids,” according to the Sachs-Hornbostel system, may in fact represent altogether viable subtypes of their own.

The Production Of Sound
The ear, because of its own structure, adds to and subtracts from the outside sound. It is, for instance, relatively insensitive to low-frequency sound pressure but is extremely sensitive to fine degrees of pitch change. At the same time, it can accept a great number of pitch and tuning systems. On a worldwide basis, there are a large and varied number of tonal systems, the most ancient stemming from China. The oldest known of these in the West is the so-called Pythagorean system, articulated by the famed 7th-century Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras; others include meantone temperament, just intonation, and the equal-tempered system, methods of tuning calculation that vary slightly in the exact size they assign to the intervals within an octave. All of these systems represent theoretical mathematical concepts to some degree, and their origins must be sought in arcane numerological systems rather than in practical musicianship. Thus, “tuning” and “playing in tune” do not necessarily refer to the same thing; players and tuners make constant adjustments to any basic mathematically determined framework according to their judgment and experience. In other words, even though a given “scientific” tuning system outlines scales and modes, the instrumentalist who plays an instrument with great pitch flexibility (the violin, for instance) spends much time in the spaces between the notes assigned in the given scale. The Japanese zither (koto), for example, can be tuned according to a number of fixed systems; nevertheless, its player produces many microtonal (using intervals that differ from the equally spaced semitones of Western music) variations on these fixed pitches by manipulation of the strings. The person who plays the Vietnamese dan bau monochord creates all pitches and nuances on its metal string by pulling in the flexible bamboo stem to which it is attached. In Western musical tradition, moreover, piano tuners would not think of tuning altogether according to the dictates of a well-tempered system; rather, they use a so-called stretched tuning, in which they imperceptibly sharpen (raise) pitches as they ascend and thus make the highest notes relatively sharper than the lowest ones. Investigation has disclosed that string players tend to play in the Pythagorean rather than the well-tempered system.

Inconsistencies, then, are inherent in all tuning systems; makers of fretted lutes—such as the guitar and the Greek laouto (a type of lute with moveable frets), for example—operate according to a combination of ear and rule of thumb when they insert or adjust frets (note-position markers—e.g., of gut or wire) in the fingerboard. Such instruments are fretted according to the “rule of the eighteenth,” in which the first fret is placed at one-eighteenth of the distance from the top to the bottom of the string, the second, one-eighteenth of the distance from the first fret to the bottom, and so on. Even if this method produced an acoustically perfect scale (which it does not), the player would not be able to reproduce this exactly, for as he presses the string to the fingerboard, the string is stretched and is thus slightly lengthened. That is why the act of stopping a string at its exact centre gives a note slightly sharper than the expected octave above the open string. Despite all of this, the search for an acoustically perfect tuning system goes on.

Though constructional methods differ widely from one area and instrument to another, there are a limited number of basic problems to be overcome by the maker of stringed instruments. The very principle that makes it possible for chordophones to sound is string tension; at the same time, tension is destructive to the instrument, since it tends literally to pull it apart. So the body of an instrument must be made of strong material; it must be reinforced, and, at the same time, it must not be so rigid that it cannot easily resonate—i.e., produce a supplementary vibration intensifying that of the string. The challenge of reconciling these opposite needs is the central one for the chordophone maker. Climate too has a marked effect on musical instruments: humidity expands a wooden instrument, and dryness contracts it. Of these factors, dryness is the most harmful, since the contraction of the wood actually pulls the instrument apart. Much energy has been expended over the centuries in investigations of various varnishes, shellacs, glues, and sealers. Many makers prefer to make their instruments in dry conditions, for the expansion caused by humidity is unlikely to prove as harmful as the contraction caused by dryness.

Aside from a family of Southeast Asian instruments known as boat lutes—which, by definition, are hewn from a single block of wood—and a few other chordophones, including the Japanese biwa (a lute), portions of the koto (a zither), and often the Puerto Rican cuatro (a lute)—the bodies of most wooden instruments are constructed from multiple pieces of wood. The instruments are built up of many pieces of wood glued together; the shaping of curved pieces is accomplished by gouging and planing (as in the belly of the violin) or by heating and pressing in a frame (the sides of the violin or guitar). Soundboards, the most important part of the resonance system of stringed instruments, are carefully planed to close tolerances. Mass-production methods are unsuitable for the production of high-quality chordophones because no two pieces of wood are precisely alike in their acoustical qualities; each piece of wood requires special judgment and treatment. Ideally, therefore, stringed instruments of the highest quality must be individually made. Piano manufacture is a partial exception to this rule, but even in a piano factory, individual treatment and craftsmanship are allowed full sway. The modern piano is a product of several different factories. The cast-iron frames are made by specialized foundries, and the steel strings, the keyboards, and the actions (mechanisms for striking the strings) are produced by specialized firms. Each of these processes requires an experienced artisan, and the work of assembly, polishing, tuning, and tone regulation calls for hours of individual attention to each instrument.

The construction and maintenance of Western stringed instruments generally have been complicated over the centuries by a continual rise in standard pitch, requiring strings to be tightened. Older instruments (such as a Stradivari violin) have been subjected to additional physical strain and therefore needed heavier bass-bars (braces under the belly).

As already stated, the methods of sound production on a stringed instrument include plucking, striking, bowing, and blowing. A string vibrates in a complex way: the entire string vibrates in one segment (producing the fundamental pitch), and various segments at the same time vibrate independently to produce overtones. The resulting sound is weak indeed unless the instrument is provided with a resonator to amplify the sound. The shape of the resonator varies greatly. It has been influenced by the materials, tools, and technology available in the society, the symbolic meaning of the shape, and the sound desired by the culture. The last factor seems to be governed by the first three; that is to say, the prescribed shape of the resonator affects the overtone structure of the instrument, producing a certain timbre (characteristic tone colour), which the society in question then defines as attractive-sounding.
Instruments Stringed

One of the clearest illustrations of the basic importance of the shape of the resonator to a musical instrument is the African mouth bow (a musical bow that the player partially inserts in his mouth). By varying the size and shape of the oral cavity while striking or plucking the single, unfingered string, the player produces a clearly perceptible, if quiet, melody that exists only because the changes in the mouth emphasize various overtones. On stringed instruments with permanently fixed resonators, the size, dimensions, shape of apertures, thickness, and bracing of the resonating surfaces largely determine which overtones will be emphasized and thus what the instrument will sound like. On a well-made violin, for example, the resonances of the body of air enclosed in the body of the instrument and of the belly should be close in pitch to the two strings A and D, thus amplifying and colouring these pitches and their overtones. The sound quality of a stringed instrument is also influenced by the thickness and material of the strings; primarily, however, it is the size and shape of the resonating body and especially the material, density, and thickness of the soundboard that determine the sound of an instrument. A well-known Spanish guitar maker, in a successful attempt to prove the importance of the belly of the guitar, once constructed an instrument—an excellent one—from papier-mâché (an acoustically dead material), except for a carefully chosen and wrought wooden soundboard. Makers, then, devote a large part of their skill and knowledge to the choice of material for the soundboard; the maker of wood-bellied instruments prefers old wood because it is dry and well seasoned. Thus, some guitar makers find the soundboards of discarded pianos unusually suitable for their purposes; makers of the classical Chinese zither, or qin, preferred old coffins or well-seasoned wood from old trees.

The timbre of a struck or plucked stringed instrument is also affected by the manner of setting the string into motion. A string plucked with a sharp point (the player’s fingernail or a plastic plectrum) emphasizes the higher overtones, thus creating a “bright” tone quality. By contrast, a soft pad, such as that on a piano hammer, emphasizes the fundamental pitch. The relative hardness of the hammer on the piano is thus of critical importance to the sound of the instrument and plays a central role in the final process in piano manufacture: voicing. To voice a piano, a skilled worker adjusts the timbre of the instrument by the simple expedient of pricking the felt hammers with needles until a unified quality has been achieved throughout the range of the instrument. The tone of an instrument is also markedly affected by the place where the string is struck. The permanently fixed striking place on keyboard instruments has to be chosen with concern for both the timbre and the mechanical requirements of the instrument. On nearly all other stringed instruments the player varies the tone quality by choosing to pluck, strike, or bow at various places along the length of the string. The exception here is the Aeolian harp, which has no player; its strings are set into vibration by the wind.

Another way in which musicians and musical instrument makers influence the sound of their instruments is by the use of sympathetically vibrating strings. On the piano, for example, when the so-called damper pedal is raised, thus leaving all the strings free to vibrate, the act of striking one note causes all closely related pitches to vibrate in sympathy, thus modifying the loudness and tone of the struck note. This effect (which is encountered also on the zither and harp) is not a central feature of these instruments, but there are numerous Eurasian chordophones on which the principle is of fundamental importance. The plucked instruments of Hindustani music, the sarod and the sitar, possess numerous sympathetic strings tuned according to the notes of the mode being played. The South Asian fiddle, sarangi, has some two to three dozen sympathetic strings; the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle (Hardingfele) has four or five sympathetic strings; and the viola d’amore typically has seven. Sympathetic strings are generally made of thin brass or steel, and their vibration reinforces the upper harmonics, thus producing a bright, silvery sound.

What is Kalabhairav Jayanti?

The Birthday of Bhairava is celebrated as the occasion of Kalabhairav Jayanti. This auspicious event falls after Poornima in the month of Karthik, on the day of Ashtami (The eighth day after the full moon). Kala Bhairava or Kaal Bhairav is a great demonstration of Lord Shiva.

It is important to note that Kala Bhairava is the violent form of God Shiva. According to the hindu calendar this day is observed on the ashthami or eighth day of Krishna paksha in the month of Margashirsha. It is also known as Maha Kalashtmi, Kala Bhairava Ashthmi or Kalashthmi. On this day devotees worship manifestation of Lord Shiva as Kalabhairav and execute special puja for deceased ancestors.

The meaning of word kaal is time and the word Bhairav represents Lord Shiva, thus, Kalabhairav is worshiped as the God of time. The jayanti is celebrated with lot of zeal and enthusiasm in different parts of India.
Kalabhairav Jayanti

History of Kala Bhairav Jayanti
Story of Kala Bhairava is mentioned in Shiva Maha Purana. According to the Maha Purana, once upon a time, some controversy occurred among Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu on the fact that who was the supreme of them. Comment passed by Brahmaji in that argument made Shiva furious. In his anger and furiousness, Lord Shiva cut a small nail from his finger that transformed into Kalabhairav. This form of Kaalbhairava cut off the head of Lord Brahma in his anger. In the avatar of kaal bhairav, he rides a black dog with a baton in hand. The demigods got scared with this horrifying avtar of Lord Shiva. After all this Lord Brahma made an apology and realized his mistake in front of Kala bhairav. All Gods, Lord Brahma, sages and saints asked Shiva to calm down and restore in the original form. However, it is also believed that the avatar of Kalabhairav has to pay for his deed of cutting the head of Lord Brahma. He has to roam around the entire world in the form of a beggar along with the head of Lord Brahma as his begging bowl. He was required to do this to resolve the vow of Kapali and resolve his sins. When he reached Varanasi, his sins were resolved and the vow of Kapali was also resolved.

Pujan samgari required for Kalabhairav Jayanti:

 The following things are required on the occasion of Kalabhairav Jayanti:

    Kaal Bhariav Gutika
    Strotra Book
    Sidh Kala bhairav photo
    Kala bhairav Mala

How is the occasion of Kalabhairav Jayanti celebrated?

On the occasion of Kalabhairav Jayanti, the devotees used to stay awake for the whole night and worship Lord Shiva by reciting prayers and mantras. At midnight, aarti is performed with beating drums to worship Lord Shiva. Thereafter in the early morning, devotees take bath and prayer is performed for their departed elders. The Vahana of Lord Kalabhairav is a dog and thus, on the occasion of Kalabhairav Jayanti, dogs are offered with milk, sweets, curd and other food items by the devotees. It is believed that the occasion of Kalabhairav Jayanti is able to provide the devotees with magical effects that can transform their lives. With the blessings of Lord Shiva, all kinds of problems and difficulties are eradicated from the path of the worshippers and they are able to become a wealthy and successful person. The devotees are also blessed with good health and are able to face all kind of situations with courage.

Rituals of Kala bhairav Jayanti

    Worship Lord Kalabhairav and also fed his vehicle (i.e. black dog) with sweets and milk.
    Perform Puja in Morning after taking a ritual bath.
    Observe jagaran at the night and keep fast for the whole day.
    Recite the powerful mantra s of Bhairav and perform Aarti at midnight.
    One can also perform Trapan and Shradh to their dead ancestors on this very day of Kalabhairav Jayanti.

Kalabhairav Jayanti

Powerful Mantras to Chant on the Day of Kalabhairav Jayanti

”Hrim vatukaya apadudharanaya kuru kuru batukaya hrim.”

“Om hreem vam vatukaaya Aapaduddharanaya vatukaaya hreem”

“Om Hraam Hreem Hroom Hrime Hroum Ksham Kshetrapaalaaya Kaala Bhairavaaya Namaha”

Kalabhairav Gayatri Mantra

Om Kaalakaalaaya Vidhmahey

Kaalathethaya dheemahi

Thanno Kaala Bhairava Prachodhayaath.

Swarnat Vijaya Vidmahe

Sula Hastaya Dhimahi

Tanno Kala Bhairavaya Prachodayat

Mantra to recite while offering special puja to dead ancestor on Kalabhairava Jayanti

Bhairavah poornaroopo hi-shankarasya paraatmanah|
Moodhastam vai na jaananti mohitaashishavamaayayaa||

Mantra to chant on Kalabhairava Jayanti while awekning Lord Shiva

Maargsheershasitaashtamyaam kaalbhairavasannidhau|
Uposhya jaagaram kurvan sarvapaapai pramuchyate||

Mantra to chant while offering water to Kalabhairava after puja

Bhairavardhya grihanesh bheemroopaavyayaanagh|
Aneenaardhyapradanen tushto bhav shivapriyaa||
Sahastraakshishirobaaho sahastrachranajar|
Grihanaardhyam Bhairavedam spushyam parmeshvar||
Pushpanjalim grihanesh vardo bhava bhirava|
Purardhya grihanedam sapushyapam yaatnaapah||

What are the benefits of Kalabhairav Jayanti fast and puja?

    Lord Bhairav gives all round success and fulfils all the desires of the worshippers.
    The person is blessed to have a healthy life and also receive help and benefits in the court related matters.
    For the pacification of Shani and Rahu, worshiping Lord Kalabhairav is highly beneficial as it provides positive effects in life.
    He protects the devotees from all kind of evils and also removes the fear of ghosts.
    Lord Kalabhairav grants victory and success to his devotes.
    Issues in family life are also resolved with the blessings of Lord Kalabhairav.
    With the blessings of Lord Kalabhairav, the person is also able to overcome his enemies.
    No negative energy can harm the worshippers of Lord Kalabhairav.

Thus, people celebrate the auspicious occasion of Kalabhairav Jayanti with dedication and devotion and seek the blessings of Lord Kalabhairav to get success, wealth, strength and good health.

 Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak Jayanti, also known as Guru Nanak's Prakash Utsav, celebrates the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak. This is one of the most sacred festivals in Sikhism, or Sikhi.
The festivities in the Sikh religion revolve around the anniversaries of the 10 Sikh Gurus. These Gurus were responsible for shaping the beliefs of the Sikhs. Their birthdays, known as Gurpurab, are occasions for celebration and prayer among the Sikhs.

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, was born on Vaisakhi Day, April 5, 1469(Vaisakh 1, 1526 Bikrami)in Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present Shekhupura District of Pakistan, now Nankana Sahib.It is a Gazetted holiday in India.

According to the controversial Bhai Bala Janamsakhi, it claims Guru Nanak was born on the Full Moon (Pooranmashi) of the Indian Lunar Month Katik. The Sikhs have been celebrating Guru Nanak's Gurpurab around November for this reason and has it been ingrained in Sikh Traditions.

However, some scholars and organizations believe the Birthday should be celebrated on Vaisakhi, which falls on April 14 according to the original Nanakshahi Calendar passed by Sri Akal Takht in 2003. However, many people and organizations would like to keep the traditional date by celebrating on the Full Moon Day (Pooranmashi or Purnima) of the Lunar Month Kartik. The original Nanakshahi Calendar follows the tradition and celebrates it on Kartik Purnima due to demands by various Sikh Saints.

The festival
The celebration is generally similar for all Sikhs; only the hymns are different. 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. Generally, two days before the birthday, Akhand Path (a forty-eight-hour non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs) is held in the Gurdwaras.

The day prior to the birthday, a procession, referred to as Nagarkirtan, is organised. This procession is led by the Panj Pyaras (Five Beloved Ones). They head the procession carrying the Sikh flag, known as the Nishan Sahib and the Palki (Palanquin) of Guru Granth Sahib. They are followed by teams of singers singing hymns and devotees sing the chorus. There are brass bands playing different tunes and 'Gatka' teams display their swordsmanship through various martial arts and as mock battles using traditional weapons. The procession pours into the streets of the town. The passage is covered with banners and gates decorated flags and flowers, for this special occasion. The leaders spreading the message of Guru Nanak.

Guru Nanak Jayanti 2010 at Pune, Maharashtra, India
On the day of the Gurpurab, the celebrations commence early in the morning at about 4 to 5 a.m. This time of the day is referred to as Amrit Vela. The day begins with the singing of Asaa-Ki-Vaar (morning hymns).This is followed by any combination of Katha (exposition of the scripture) and Kirtan (hymns from the Sikh scriptures), in the praise of the Guru.Following that is the Langar, a special community lunch, which is arranged at the Gurudwaras by volunteers. The idea behind the free communal lunch is that everyone, irrespective of caste, class or creed, should be offered food in the spirit of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion).
Night Prayer sessions are also held in some Gurudwaras, which begin around sunset when Rehras(evening prayer) is recited, followed by Kirtan till late at night. The congregation starts singing Gurbani at about 1:20 a.m., which is the actual time of birth of Guru Nanak. The celebrations culminate at around 2 a.m.

Guru Nanak Gurpurab is celebrated by the Sikh community all over the world and is one of the most important festivals in the Sikh calendar. The celebrations are especially colorful in Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh and many more locations. Even some Sindhis celebrate this festival.
 Guru Nanak

Kartika Purnima

Kartika Purnima is a Hindu, Sikh and Jain cultural festival, celebrated on the Purnima (full moon) day or the fifteenth lunar day of Kartik (November–December). It is also known as Tripuri Purnima and Tripurari Purnima. It is sometimes called Deva-Diwali or Deva-Deepawali - the festival of lights of the gods. Karthikai Deepam is a related festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka on a different date.

Significance in Hinduism
Here, the five-headed Tripurantaka is seen pointing an arrow towards the Tripura (rightmost top corner) with the bow made of mount Meru, the serpent Vasuki is seen as its string. The four-headed god Brahma is seen. The moon and the Sun are depicted as the wheels of the chariot.
Tripuri Purnima or Tripurari Purnima derives its name from Tripurari - the foe of the demon Tripurasura. In some legends of Kartik Purnima, the term is used to denote the three demon sons of Tārakāsura. Tripurari is an epithet of god Shiva. Shiva in his form as Tripurantaka ("Killer of Tripurasura") killed Tripurasura on this day.[6] Tripurasura had conquered the whole world and defeated the gods and also created three cities in space, together called "Tripura". The killing of the demon(s) and destruction of his/their cities with a single arrow - by Shiva overjoyed the gods and they declared the day as a festival of illuminations. This day is also called "Dev-Diwali"—the Diwali of the gods. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights.

Kartik Purnima is also the birthday of Matsya, god Vishnu's fish-incarnation (avatar). It is also the birthday of Vrinda, the personification of the Tulsi plant and of Kartikeya, the god of war and son of Shiva. This day also is considered special for Radha, the lover of Krishna - Vishnu's incarnation. It is believed that Krishna and Radha danced rasa and Krishna worshipped Radha on this day. This day is also dedicated to the pitrs, dead ancestors.

Underhill believes that the origins of this festival may lie in ancient times, when a sacrifice called Shakamedhah was performed to attain victory over enemies.

The festival has even more significance when the day falls in the nakshatra (lunar mansion) Krittika and is then called Maha Kartik. The nakshatra is Bharani, the results are stated to be special. If it is Rohini nakshatra, then the fruitful results are even much more. Any philanthropic act on this day is supposed to bring benefits and blessings equal to the performing of ten yajnas

Hindu Rituals
Kartik Purnima 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. Many fairs that begin on Prabodhini Ekadashi end on Kartik Purnima, Kartik Purnima usually being the most important day of the fair. Fairs that conclude on this day include Prabodhini Ekadashi celebrations at Pandharpur and Pushkar Fair. Kartik Purnima is also the last day to perform Tulsi Vivah ceremony that can be performed from Prabodhini Ekadashi.

Also, it is believed that Vishnu, on this day, returns to his abode after completing his stay in Bali. Hence, the day is known as Deva-Diwali.

In Pushkar, Rajasthan, the Pushkar Fair or Pushkar mela commences on Prabodhini Ekadashi and continues till Kartik Purnima, the latter being the most important. This fair is held in honour of god Brahma, whose temple stands at Pushkar. A ritual bath on Kartik Purnima in the Pushkar Lake is considered to lead one to salvation. It is believed circling the three Pushkars on Kartik Purnima is highly meritorious. Sadhus gather here and stay from ekadashi to full moon day in caves. About 200,000 people and 25,000 camels assemble in Pushkar for the fair. Pushkar fair is Asia's largest camel fair.
A ritual bath at a tirtha (a sacred water body like a lake or river) at a pilgrimage centre is prescribed on Kartik Purnima. This holy bath is known as "Kartik snana".An holy bath at Pushkar or in the Ganges river, especially at Varanasi is deemed as most auspicious. Kartik Purnima is the most popular day for bathing in the Ganges at Varanasi.The devotees also take a bath in the evening during moonrise and offer worship by way of six prayers such as Shiva sambuti, Satait and so forth.

Annakuta, an offering of food to the deities, is held in temples.People who have taken vows on Ashvin full moon day, end them on Kartik Purnima. God Vishnu is also worshipped on this day. Any form of violence (hinsa or himsa) is prohibited on this day. This includes shaving, hair-cutting, cutting of trees, plucking of fruits and flowers, cutting of crops and even, sexual union. Charity especially donation of cows, feeding of Brahmins, fasting are religious activities prescribed for Kartik Purnima. Giving gift of gold is said to fulfill all desires of people.

Tripuri Purnima is only next to Maha Shivaratri, amongst festivals dedicated to Shiva worship. To commemorate the killing of Tripurasura, images of Shiva are carried in procession. Temple complexes in southern India are lit up throughout the night. Deepmalas or towers of lights are illuminated in temples. People place 360 or 720 wicks in temples, to secure escape reaching hell after death. The 720 wicks symbolizes the 360 days and nights of the Hindu calendar.[9] In Varanasi, the ghats come alive with thousands of diyas (brightly lit earthen lamps). People gift lamps to priests. The lamps are kept throughout the night in houses and Shiva temples. This day is also known as "Kartik Diparatna" - the jewel of lamps in Kartik. Lights are also floated in miniature boats in rivers. Lights are placed under Tulsi, Sacred fig and Amla trees. The lights in the water and under trees are believed to help fishes, insects and birds who saw the light to attain salvation.[18]

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 Telugu households of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karthika maasalu (month) is considered very auspicious. The Kartika month starts on the day of Deepawali. From that day till the end of the month, oil lamps are lit every day. On Karthika Pournami (full moon of Kartheeka month) oil lamp with 365 wicks, prepared at home, are lit in Lord Shiva temples. Apart from that, Kartika puranam is read and fasting is observed till sunset, every day for the whole month. Swaminarayan Sampraday also celebrates this day with faith and fervor.

Palitana Jain temples
Kartik Purnima is an important religious day for Jains who celebrate it by visiting Palitana a Jain pilgrimage centre. Thousands of Jain pilgrims flock to the foothills of Shatrunjay hills of Palitana taluka on the day of Kartik Purnima to undertake the auspicious yatra (journey). Also known as the Shri Shantrunjay Teerth Yatra, this walk is an important religious event in the life of a Jain devotee, who covers 216 km of rough mountainous terrain on foot to worship at the Lord Adinath temple atop the hill.

Considered to be a very auspicious day for Jains, the day also assumes more significance for the walk, as the hills, which are closed to the public during the four months of Chaturmas, are thrown open for the devotees on Kartik Purnima. The day of Kartik Purnima is very significant in Jainism. As devotees are kept away from worshipping their lord for four months of the monsoon season, the first day attracts the maximum number of devotees. Jains believe that Adinath, the first tirthankara, sanctified the hills by visiting it to deliver his first sermon. According to Jain texts, millions of sadhus and sadhvis have attained salvation on these hills.

There are no auspicious days in Sikhism. Any month, day or moment a person remembers the Divine is considered auspicious. Guru Nanak was born on 1 Vaisakh, April 14, according to the (Sikh) Nanakshahi calendar. It happened to be a full-moon night.Nanakpanthi Hindus and other followers of Guru Nanak's philosophy celebrate this festival on Kartik Purnima, according to the (Hindu) Bikrami calendar. Kartik Purnima is celebrated as Gurupurab or Prakash Parva that is Guru Nanak Jayanti Worldwide.
Kartika Purnima

Tulsi Vivah
Tulsi Vivah is the ceremonial marriage of the Tulsi (holy basil) plant to the Hindu god Shaligram or Vishnu or to his avatar, Sri Krishna. The Tulsi wedding signifies the end of the monsoon and the beginning of the wedding season in Hinduism.

The ceremonial festival is performed anytime between Prabodhini Ekadashi (the eleventh or twelfth lunar day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartik) and Kartik Poornima (the full moon of the month). The day varies regionally.

Tulsi and Vishnu
Tulsi is venerated as a goddess in Hinduism and is sometimes considered as a wife of Vishnu, with the epithet, “Vishnupriya”, “the beloved of Vishnu”. The legend behind Tulsi Vivah and its rites are told in the scripture, Padma Purana.

According to the Hindu scripture’s, the Tulsi plant was a woman named “Vrinda” (Brinda; a synonym of Tulsi). She was married to the Asura king Jalandhar, who due to her piety and devotion to Vishnu, became invincible. Even Shiva could not defeat Jalandhar, so he requested Vishnu - the preserver in the Trinity - to find a solution. Vishnu disguised himself as Jalandhar and tricked Vrinda by having intercourse with her.

Her chastity destroyed, Jalandhar lost his power and was killed by Shiva. Vrinda cursed Vishnu to become black in colour and to be separated from his wife, Lakshmi. This was later fulfilled when he was transformed into the black Shaligram stone (actually a fossil), and in his Rama avatar, was separated from his wife Sita, who was kidnapped by the asura king Ravana. Vrinda then drowned herself in the ocean, and the gods (or Vishnu himself) transferred her soul to a plant, which was henceforth called Tulsi.

As per a blessing by Vishnu to marry Vrinda in her next birth, Vishnu – in form of Shaligram - married Tulsi on Prabodhini Ekadashi. To commemorate this event, the ceremony of Tulsi Vivah is performed. Another minor legend narrates that Lakshmi slew a demon on this day and remained on earth as the Tulsi plant.
The marriage of Tulsi with Vishnu/Krishna resembles the traditional Hindu wedding.The marriage ceremony is conducted at homes and at temples where a fast is observed on the Tulsi Vivah day until evening when the ceremony begins. A mandap (marriage booth) is built around the courtyard of the house where the Tulsi plant is usually planted in centre of the courtyard in a brick plaster called the Tulsi vrindavana. It is believed that the soul of Vrinda resides in the plant at night and leaves in the morning.The bride Tulsi is clothed with a sari and ornaments including earrings and necklaces. A human paper face with a bindi and nose-ring may be attached to Tulsi. The groom is a brass image or picture of Vishnu or Krishna or sometimes Balarama or more frequently the Shaligram stone - the symbol of Vishnu. The image is clothed in a dhoti. Both Vishnu and Tulsi are bathed and decorated with flowers and garlands before the wedding. The couple is linked with a cotton thread (mala) in the ceremony

Tulsi plant worshipped as part of Tulsi Vivah celebrations.
At Prabhu Dham in Saunja, India, the festival is collectively celebrated by whole village which makes it a significant point of attraction. Here it is celebrated as three day festival in the hindi month of Kartik from Ekadashi to Trayodashi. The festival is started with the vedic chanting of Ramcharitmanas or Ramayana by the villagers itself. The second day is celebrated as Sobha Yatra which is of significat importance in which the special prasad is Pongal, and the third day is celebrated as Tilakotsav and Vivahotsav of Lord Vishnu and Devi Brinda. The villagers prepare 56 types of prasad known as Chapan Bhog and distributed to all. All caste takes participation in this village accordingly. Devoties including saints and mahants all over from Bihar visit this place to celebrate this festive occasion.

In Maharashtra, an important ritual in the ceremony is when the white cloth is held between the bride and the groom and the priest recites the Mangal Ashtaka mantras. These mantras formally complete the wedding. Rice mixed with vermilion is showered by the attendees on Tulsi and Vishnu at the end of the recitation of the mantras with the word "Savadhan" (literally "be careful" implying "You are united now". The white curtain is also removed. The attendees clap signifying approval to the wedding. Vishnu is offered sandalwood-paste, men's clothing and the sacred thread. The bride is offered saris, turmeric, vermilion and a wedding necklace called Mangal-sutra, worn by married women. Sweets and food cooked for an actual wedding are cooked for Tulsi Vivah too. This ceremony is mostly performed by women. The prasad of sugar-cane, coconut chips, fruits and groundnut is distributed to devotees.

The expenses of the wedding are usually borne by a daughter-less couple, who act as the parents of Tulsi in the ritual wedding. The giving away of the daughter Tulsi (kanyadaan) to Krishna is considered meritorious to the couple. The bridal offerings to Tulsi are given to a Brahmin priest or female ascetics after the ceremony.

In two Rama temples in Saurashtra, the ceremony is more elaborate. An invitation card is sent to the groom's temple by the bride's temple. On Prabodhini Ekadashi, a barat bridal procession of Lalji - an image of Vishnu - sets off to the bride's temple. Lalji is placed in a palanquin and accompanied by singing and dancing devotees. The barat is welcomed on the outskirts of Tulsi's village and the ceremonial marriage is carried at the temple. At the bride's side, Tulsi is planted in an earthen pot for the ceremony. People desirous of children perform Kanyadaan from Tulsi's side acting as her parents. Bhajans are sung throughout the night and in the morning the barat of Lalji returns to their village with Tulsi.

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