Kartika Poornima (Kartika purnima) is a Hindu, Jain and Sikh holy festival, celebrated on the Purnima (full moon) day or the fifteenth lunar day of Kartika (November–December). It is also known as Tripuri Poornima and Tripurari Poornima. It is sometimes called Deva-Diwali or Deva-Deepawali – the festival of lights of the gods.
Kartik poornima 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.
Kartik Poornima 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.
Kartik Poornima 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 Poornima 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.
For Sikhs, too, the day of Kartik Poornima is very auspicious, as it coincides with their festival of Guru Nanak Jayanti (Guru Nanak Gurpurab). The founder of their religion, Guru Nanak was born on the day of Kartik Poornima in 1469 AD Apart from Sikhs, the Nanakpanthi Hindus and other followers of Guru Nanak’s philosophy also celebrate this festival.