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Vishnu Deepam

Vishnu Deepam is the festival observed on the full moon day in the tamil month of Karthigai by the devotees of Lord Vishnu. They are called Vaishnavites and the day is also known as Karthigai Deepam. In the year 2012, Vishnu Deepam is celebrated on November 28, 2012.

This day is special to all Vaishnavites and on this day the houses and temples are cleaned and decorated with flowers. Special puja is offered to Lord Vishnu and in the evenings, after sunset, oil lamps are lit in literally thousands in temples.

Devotees light the special bonfires in Vishnu temples called Sokkappanai on this day. In some places it is also a custom to decorate tiny clay elephants and diyas are lit around them.

Also some temples which have elephants decorate them and dress them in royal garb and feed them with special recipes and offer them puja. Devotees keep pouring oil into the lamps and keep them lit throughout the evening in temples and houses.

People of all age groups take part in lighting the lamps and it is quite a sight to see thousands of lamps being lit during the evenings.

Vishnu Deepam is celebrated to commemorate the incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana.

According to legend, Vishnu took the incarnation of Vamana in order to send Bali to the patala loka. The bonfire is lit to remember this event.

This festival is also observed as Yanai Pandigai in some communities in South India.

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