Tonight marks the Hindu festival of Karthigai Deepam, taking place in Tamil Nadu on the day of the full moon in the Tamil month of Karthigai. On this day it is believed that Lord Shiva takes the form of a jyothi (light of fire) on the hill of Thiruvannamali.
One of my neighbors created a pretty kolam and had a clay lamp lit with ghee placed in the middle. My other neighbor simply placed a couple of lamps outside her door. She gave me a sweet made from puffed rice and jaggery. Earlier in the evening, she had performed a puja to Lord Muruga, believing that such an action would bring prosperity to her household. She explained that away from the big cities such as Chennai, Karthigai Deepam is often celebrated with more fervor, with households creating large kolams and lots of lamps.
Karthigai Deepam post from last year