Kartika Purnima celebrates the power of Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva killed the demon Tripusara on this day and therefore Shiva Temples are crowded with devotees to celebrate the event. Kartika Purnima also coincides with the Jain light festival. Kartika (October / November) is considered to be the holiest month of the Hindu calendar. Kartika Purnima is the last day of the Hindu month of Kartik and coincides with the full moon day. It follows the last 5 days of celebrations which are collectively called Panchaka. The day of Kartika Purnima also heralds the festival of Dev Diwali. During the last five days of Kartika Purnima, also known as “Panchaka”, women take a purification bath each morning and draw beautiful flower designs in their homes. Fasting is commonly observed on these days. Shiva temples are visited on these days. Devotees also try to bathe in the sacred rivers including River Ganges to get rid of their negativity and receive blessings from the Gods. This ritual follows the belief that on this day the Gods descend on earth and reside in the sacred rivers. During the month associated with Kartika Purnima, Hindus refrain from eating any non - vegetarian food. Naivedyam, or flattened rice and coconut scrapings, is offered to the gods and then served as prasad to the devotees. During the five days food is consumed only once in the afternoon and is called as “Habisha”Kirtans or chanting prayers and hymns in groups and the loud beating of instruments like Mrudanga and cymbals continues throughout the day. In the city of Cuttack, Orissa and a few some other towns, huge images of "Kartikeswar" are built and worshipped during Kartika Purnima. At night they are taken out in procession and are immersed in the Mahanadi River, near a Shiva temple.
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