Diwali is a well known festival but have you ever heard about Naraka Chaturdasi. The reason I asked about Diwali while talking about this occasion is that Naraka Chaturdasi is a festival that is celebrated a day before the Diwali every year. The exact date of the Naraka Chaturdasi keeps changing like the date of all the festivals in India.
This is also known as the choti or smaller Diwali
Significance of Naraka Chaturdasi
This day is celebrated to remember the victory of Lord Krishna over the king named Narakasura. The mythology behind this story goes like that Narakasura was a cruel king. He defeated the Gods and had imprisoned around sixteen thousand women. He did so as he was told that only a woman could kill him. He also stole the earrings of Aditi (the mother of the Gods). The Gods decided that they must inform the Lord Krishna about the atrocities of Narakasura .
The king of the Gods Indra himself went to Lord Krishna with the request to kill the Narakasura. When Lord Krishna came to know what Narakasura was up to. He decided to challenge him into a battle. Lord Krishna asked his wife Satyabhama to come along. Satyabhama was the incarnation of Bhudevi (goddess of earth). Satyabhama agreed and joined her husband willingly as she had to play an important role in this fierce battle.
Lord of Garuda
Lord Krishna sat on his giant eagle named Garuda for this battle. As they approached the palace of Narakasura they realised that it was protected by magic. There was a mountain range that protected the palace of the Narakasura. Lord Krishna shattered the whole mountain range and made way to the palace of Narakasura. There were many more mystical barriers thatLord Krishna had to break before he entered the palace of Narakasura. The final challenge for Lord Krishna was a demon named Mura who protected the palace of Narakasura. Lord Krishna used all his weapons but none worked on Mura. He finally used his extremely powerful Sudarshan chakra and killed Mura.
The Killing of Narakasura
After the demise of Mura Narakasura came out to fight with Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna had become a little weak by all the battle that he fought so long. He fainted while fighting Narakasura. When Satyabhama saw this she took the place of Lord Krishna and she killed Narakasura. This was because Narakasura had a boon that only a woman could kill him. All the women who were taken captive by the cruel king were made free.
Lord Krishna appointed the son of Narakasura to the throne. Son of Narakasura was a devotee of Lord Krishna. In his death bed Narakasura requested Lord Krishna and his wife to forgive him. They both decided to forgive Narakasura and blessed him saying that his death will always be remembered and celebrated. It will be a day of joy and celebrations. This is exactly what happened. Even today this day is celebrated as the Naraka Chaturdasi.
How is Naraka Chaturdashi Celebrated?
Now that you know the significance of the Naraka Chaturdasi we will discuss how it is celebrated. This story that is associated with the Naraka Chaturdasi is indeed a very interesting one. When Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama returned after killing the demon Narakasura they were given a royal bath to clean their bodies of the blood stains of the demon. This is why you will notice that the bath is given so much importance on Naraka Chaturdasi.
Even today men and women wake up early in the morning of Naraka Chaturdasi. They take bath in oil. This is a custom that was followed in the olden days more religiously. Today people prefer to just take a bath. In some parts of the country people do apply a paste on their body before they take a bath.
The night before the Naraka Chaturdasi the pots are decorated and marigold garlands are placed on them. Mango leaves are also filled in the pot with water. This water is heated in the morning and is used for bath. You must ensure that you take this bath before the sun rises. After the bath people usually dress up in new clothes to mark the occasion. Colourful rangoli are made in front of the house.
Puja is done in every household. Lord Krishna is mostly worshipped on This is a symbol of the head of Narkasura who was killed on this day of Naraka Chaturdasi for killing the demon. After the puja sweets are distributed to the family members and to those who attended the puja as prasad. Even snacks like chaklis, and other salty stuff are made.
In the evening people visit the houses of friends and family. In the evening lamps are also placed all across the house. In west Bengal fourteen lamps are placed across the house on the Naraka Chaturdasi .Fireworks are an integral part of the evening celebrations. The Naraka Chaturdasi is also called the choti Diwali in many parts of the country. All these celebrations pave way to the more grand celebration of Diwali next day.
This festival is celebrated all across the states of India. There are different names and different celebrations for the Naraka Chaturdasi. However, the essence of the Naraka Chaturdasi remains the same.
- In West Bengal it is celebrated as the Kali puja.
- In the state of Maharashtra after bath people apply a paste called uptan on their bodies before bath. This is made of gram flour and fragrant powders. This is a must on Naraka Chaturdasi.
- In south India kumkum and oil is applied on the forehead before people take bath. This is a symbol of the head of Narkasura who was killed on this day of Naraka Chaturdasi South people often used sandal wood paste to smear their body before they take the shower.
- In north the celebrations are as we have mentioned earlier in the article.
Festivals are special but if you know the significance of the festivals they become even more important and special. Naraka Chaturdasi is a prominent festival for the Hindus. Do ensure that you try to follow the points that we have mentioned in this article on how exactly the Naraka Chaturdasi must be celebrated.
This will help you to ensure that there is peace and prosperity in the house. The points that we have made on celebrating the Naraka Chaturdasi are simple and can be followed by all easily. Have a great choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdasi this year!