Old Thoughts

Connecting Science and Scriptures : Satya Sarada Kandula : All Rights Reserved

Halloween, Karthika Pouranami, Yama Deepam


The theme of lights and overcoming fear of death dominates festivals around the world during Karthika Masam.

  • I compare the dates and customs of Halloween, Karthika Pournami and Yama Deepam in the following article.
  • It is possible that Ancient Indian customs spread to many parts of the Ancient World and were later suppressed/modified there under the label of Paganism.
  • At one time Halloween coincided with Karthika Pournami.
  • (See Also : Harvest Moon : Aswiyuja Pournami (Purnima))

Halloween : Americans celebrate Halloween on the 31st of October. Children dress up as ghosts (prethas) and monsters and demand sweets from neighbours. Pumpkins are carved and candles are placed in them. (Jack O’ Lantern)

  • According to this reference, Hebrews followed a lunar calendar. Halloween was instituted on the full moon of the eight month (October). On that day they sacrificed to the golden calves at Dan and Bethel.
  • God ordained, in Leviticus 23, the Feast of Tabernacles on the fifteenth of the seventh month. I Kings 12:28-3228 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. (NIV)”
  • Westerners used to begin their new year with the winter solstice at one time as opposed to the spring equinox new year traditions of South Indians. Today their new year day Jan 1st is separated by 9 days from the winter solstice, so we know how relatively young this calendar is, compared to the Indian calendars. ( See : Equinoxes and Dating the Vedas
  • For October (Akhtabar – Ashtavar(sha)) to be their 8th month, the first month has to be March. This implies at the their new year also started  at the Spring Equinox, as it does for the Andhras, Kannadigas and Tamilians (and some other Indian States), at the time of the Old Testament.
  • The Biblical Reference above shows that the full moon was the 15th day, which means that like Andhras and Kannadigas (and some other Indian States), they started their calendar on the new moon day when the sun and the moon were aligned.

Karthika Pournami : Andhras (and Indians of some other states) celebrate Karthika Pournami in a big way on the full moon day of lunar month Karthika Masa.  Karthika Masa is named after the Kruthika Nakshatram (called Pleiades). The Krutika Nakshtram is a constellation of 6 stars called the Krttikas and the adopted son Karthikeya (son of Siva), whom they all raised together. It is Karthikeya who killed Tarakasura and returned Indra’s kingdom to him.

  • Karthika Masam is named after Kruthika Nakshatram, because, on an average, the full moon day occurs closer to Kruthika than the other 26 Nakshatrams. This usually occurs in the english calendar month of November.
  • This year Karthika Pournami is on 2nd November and occurs in Ashwini Nakshatram which is 2 nakshatras away from Kruthika.
  • On the day of the Kruthika Nakshatram in Karthika Masam, the festival of Kruthika Deepotsavam is observed – this is on 4th November this year!
  • “The Seven Sisters constellation, Pleiades, which looks like a small cluster of grapes, has long been a signal for the time of year to honor the dead — such as All Saints Day, Nov. 1. According to myth, the Seven Sisters constellation is at its highest point in the sky during a great calamity. The Aztecs and Mayans believed it would be overhead at midnight on the night the world comes to an end.(Reference)
  • What is a good day to the victors (Karthikeya and the Devas) might well be a bad day to the losers (Tarakasura). Could this be a clue?

(For posts by me explaining the lunar calendar please see : Nakshatram of the Day! , Nakshatras and Masas)

Yama Tharpanam and Yama Deepam : Yama is worshipped on different days of Karthika Masam and one or 2 days preceding it.

My calendar gives the day before Deepavali (Aswiyuja Krishna Paksha Chaturdasi as Yama Tarpanam, Naraka Caturdasi, Preta Caturdasi and Yama Deepam) and Karthika Krishna Paksha Trayodasi as Yama Deepam. Expect variations from state to state.

  • Yama Dharmaraja is reverred the luminary (deva) in charge of Yama (Restraint and Self-Control) and Dharma (Ethics, Right Conduct etc). He is popularly known as the God of Death or Mrutu Devata in contemporary Hinduism. At the end of your life, it is believed that, Yama reviews the account of your activites and decides how much time you get in heaven and how much time in each kind of hell. Yama is worshipped to overcome the fear of death.
  • Yamadwitheya / Bhathru Dwithiya: As the legend goes Yamraj, the God of Death visited his sister Yamuna (Yami) on this particular day. That is why this day of Bhayyaduj is also known by the name of “Yama-Dwitiya” or Bhathru Dwithiya. (Source)

In Andhra, sisters give Arati to their brothers on Naraka Caturdasi. Variations of this custom occur in various states of India, both north and south.

For other posts written by me on the spread of Ancient Indian Customs (Brahmins to Hebrews) you may see links below:  (These are not connected to Karthika Masam.)

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula

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  1. Ups! I love your rightful words! I can just imagine the kind of posts you got to express yourself in such disclaimer! Unfortunately, some of the information you posted is now unavailable. I tried some of the links and satyask is not there. Should you include your findings on these topics, again, I would really like to see them.
    Adriana (Mexico)

    adriana de la torre

    August 29, 2012 at 11:44 pm


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