Kartik Purnima or Kartika Poornima, Tripuri Poornima or Tripurari Punrima, is the Full Moon and auspicious day in Kartik month. In 2012, Kartik Purnima date is November 28.
This day marks the ending of Kartik month as per the calendars of North India but in other calendars it is the 15th day in Kartik maas. During Kartik Purnima, Dev Diwali, Deepotsavam and Ganga Mahotsav are observed.
In Andhra Pradesh and some parts of Karnataka, ‘Shiva Linga Mahajala Abhishekam’ is observed on the day. Bhakteshwara Vratam is also performed on Kartika Pournami in some places of Andhra Pradesh.
On Kartik Purnima, some people perform Tulsi Vishnu Vivah. It is observed on some other days – Bhodini Ekadasi or on Ksheerabdi Dwadashi. Kartik Poornima celebrations are associated with the legend of demon Tarakasur. Tarakasur was demolished by Lord kartik, also known as Skanda or Kumara.
Another legend associated with Kartik Poornima is of Lord Vishnu’s Matsyavatar. It is believed that on this day, Vishnu was incarnated in Matsya incarnation and protected Manu, the first man, from Maha Pralay (deluge).
In Kashi Vishwanath temple at Varanasi, Rameshwaram temple, Arunachaleshwara temple at Thiruvannamalai, Manjunatha temple at Dharmasthala, Srisailam Mallikarjuna swamy temple, Vemulawada Rajarajeshwara swamy temple, Keesaragutta Ramalingeshwara swamy temple and Kaleshwaram Shiva temple and all other famous Shiva temples, Kartika Pournami is observed with much gusto.
During Kartik Purnima, Pushkar Mela, the largest cattle fair in the world, is organized in Pushkar town in Rajasthan. Kapal Mochan Mela is another biggest mela celebrated during Kartik Purnima. In Andhra Pradesh, Anantagiri Jathara is celebrated during Kartik Purnima at Ananthagiri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple.