Narak Chaturdashi

The festival of Narak Chaturdashi falls on the second day of the five-day long Diwali celebrations, all over India. This festival is also known as 'Choti Diwali' in North India and 'Kali Chaudas' in Gujarat, Rajasthan and a few parts of Maharashtra. It is observed on the fourteenth day of the month of Kartik (October - November). This year Narak Chaturdashi is on October 26.

History of Narak Chaturdashi

This festival commemorates the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasur, the Demon King. Hanuman Jayanti or the birthday of Lord Hanuman is also celebrated on this day. Along with this, Kali Chaudas also worships Maha Kali or Shakti, who symbolises strength to fight evil.

Victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasur

According to an ancient legend, the festival of Narak Chaturdashi ascribes itself to the story of Lord Krishna's victory over the demon king, Narakasur. It is believed that Narakasur, who was the ruler of Pragjyotishpur, defeated Lord Indra and subsequently snatched away the magnificent earrings of Aditi, Mother of gods, along with imprisoning sixteen thousand daughters of gods and saints in his harem.

Lord Krishna killed this demon and rescued all imprisoned damsels along with recovering the precious earrings of Aditi. This act was seen as a moral victory of good over evil.

Legend of King Bali

Another story that is attributed to the celebration of this festival is that of King Bali. He had become the most powerful king on Earth through conquering every bit of space. His arrogance led him to believe that nothing could hamper his wealth. He would create a show of charity by hurling insults and humiliation at all those went to seek alms from him. In order to strip him off his arrogance, Lord Vishnu went to his kingdom under the guise of a beggar.

On being demanded by the king to ask for anything in his kingdom in three steps, Vishnu covered the entire heaven with his first step, entire earth with his second, and shattered the vain pride of the king. Bali, then offered the Lord his head to place his third step upon, which led to him receiving spiritual enlightenment. Thus, Narak Chaturdashi is a festival that preaches the message of eliminating greed and attaining spiritual knowledge.

Celebration of Narak Chaturdashi

Narak Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali is celebrated with a number of rituals. On this day, people wake up earlier than usual, rub their bodies with perfumed oils before bathing, and attire themselves into clean or new clothes.

Special dishes are prepared and enjoyed all day long with friends and relatives. Sweets are distributed. Delicacies such as laddus, chaklis, sakkaparas, and badam halwa are enjoyed. Women wash their hair and apply kajal around their eyes, as it is believed to keep away evil eye from these religious ceremonies. Nived (food) is offered to the goddess that is local to every family respectively.

This goddess is called 'Kul Devi' and is believed to cast off evil spirits. Food is also offered to forefathers on this day by some people. People decorate their homes by spotlessly cleaning them in order to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi on the next day into their homes and lives. Decorative rangolis adorn most houses. In the evening, people burst crackers and fireworks along with lightning their houses with oil lamps.

In various parts of India, Chhoti Diwali is celebrated in various ways: d>2019 26 October 2020 13 November

Last Updated on : January 7, 2019