The second day of the Diwali festival, is the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of the month of Ashvin, and is called Narak-Chaturdashi or Kali Chaudas and also known as Chhoti (-small) Diwali. This day is dedicated to the victory of Lord Krishna over the wicked demon king Narakasur.

In 2013, Naraka Chaturdashi will be celebrated on November 2nd.

Lord Vishnu and Sudarshana Chakra
Lord Vishnu and Sudarshana Chakra (from Wikimedia)

Narkasur had fought against neighbouring kings and imprisoned 16,000 women, daughters of the Gods and saints. He had also defeated Lord Indra and taken away the magnificient kundale (earrings) from the ears of Aditi, mother of the Gods. When Lord Krishna learnt about Narakasur’s deeds, he decided to engage him in battle and liberate all the celestials.

 

On hearing of this proposed battle Satyabhama, Lord Krishna’s wife, took this task upon herself and with his help killed Narkasur with Krishna’s sudarshana chakra (originally given to him by Lord Vishnu). As a symbol of the victory Lord Krishna smeared his own forehead with the demon’s blood. On his return, the womenfolk massaged his body with scented oils and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth.

Naraka Chaturdashi Celebrations

The custom of taking a bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice. People get up early and have an oil-bath (तेल अभ्यन्गम). The tradition of taking oil baths has its origins in ayurvedic medicine. Preparations for this ritual bath begin the night before as water pots are cleaned, venerated, decorated with marigolds and mango leaves and filled with water in readiness for dawn. They are heated next morning and the hot water is used for ritual baths.

The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age. Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89

After their hot water bath, an aromatic paste of herbs in scented oils is applied. Everyone then dresses up in new clothes and the celebrations begin with the bursting of fireworks and distribution of sweets that have been first offered to God. The courtyards are decorated with rangoli (drawing of traditional motifs with colorful powders) and the attention shifts to the feasting on different sweet and savoury snacks prepared for the festival. Typical sweets like laddus, chaklis, sakkaparas, badam halwa and various savouries are made for this evening.

Narkasur Effigy
Effigy of Narkasur from Goa
More Images

Naraka Chaturdashi in Goa

The southwestern Indian state of Goa has a unique way of celebrating Naraka Chaturdashi. Effigies of the demon Narkasura are created over many months and then paraded through the streets through the day and into the evening. The parade(s) conclude with the burning of these effigies (which are often filled with fire crackers and other combustible materials!) and bursting of crackers and other associated revelry.

Chotti (Small) Diwali Celebrations

The day before Diwali is celebrated as Chotti Diwali in several parts of India. Growing up in northern India, I remember this day being spent preparing for the following day of Lakshmi puja. We would spend a lot of time cleaning the house and making it spic and span for Goddess Lakshmi. It would also be a day of tremendous excitement as all the kids would go shopping for their favorite fire crackers and noise-making bombs and bottle rockets. A lot of time would also be spent putting up decorations inside the house and making rangoli patterns outside the house to welcome Lakshmi on the main Diwali day – the third day of Diwali or the new moon day of Amavasya.

diwali-rangoli.jpg
Rangoli decoration for Diwali

 

Happy Diwali to all of you – may the festival of lights bring love and light into your life!

So how do you celebrate Diwali? Please share with us in the comments section below.

animated send article

Tagged with:
 
  • MYLVAGANAM MAHENDRAN

    THIS IS A VERY AUSPICIOUS DAY TO CELEBRATE FOR HEALTH WEALTH AND PROSPERITY. MMAHENDRAN.CANADA

  • Pingback: Diwali: The Festival of Lights

  • ritika

    thanks..well men too indulge a lot in beauty this day… women r tender yet strong so obviously an extra treatment is required, as mentioned in our cultural books- both man n woman make a house ; men protect n earn while women supports and gets things forward..thats the chakra of life.

    Happy new year to all :)

  • ritika

    Shubh Deepavli to all. Thanks for sharing the information. Choti Deepavali is also known as Roop Chaudas, where beauty is given improtance and everybody indulges in a beauty therepy this day to look their best and welcome Goddess Lakshmi. Ladies apply Mehendi on their hands, oil masaages and uptan baths are a ritual this day. In the evening, pooja is performed and blessings of God and elders seeked.

    Regards,
    Ritika Agarwal

    • http://blog.eaglespace.com kajmani

      Dear Ritika,
      Thank you for your insightful comment – it seems like a lot of our festivals have a lot of fun stuff for the women and not much for the men :-) I guess that's good because the women are doing a lot of hard work to keep the festive traditions alive, so they deserve their rewards! Happy Diwali!

  • Indra Neel Mukherjee

    Dear Kajmani Ji,

    It was so nice to get yr reply …………. but why are you supporting the womens' cause … initially you showed concern about men not getting the better of the fun share !! It was very thoughtful but eventually you got partial …….. anyways as long as we dont loose our women to beauty par lours and massage par lours :-)) and poor husbands don't have to pay hefty bills …. !!!! LOL …. joking … hey sorry I did not mean any offence … just light hearted FUN SHARE I am snatching on mens' quota for FUN !!

    Coming back to your site …. it is an excellent place to learn so much about our Great Indian Culture in so much detail …. may God bless You and all connected with you !!

    Fond regards

    Indra Neel

  • Indra Neel Mukherjee

    HAPPY DEEWAALI TO ALL AND THANK YOU AND BEST WISHES FOR THE KIND WISHES again thankyou very much for sharing so much … we didn’t know much about Narakasur chaturdashi …. it was new for us …. thanx for illuminating the mind in this fest of illumintion !!

    Indra Neel

    • http://blog.eaglespace.com kajmani

      Mr. Mukherjee,
      Thank you for your insightful comment – I am glad you enjoyed the article. I also learnt a lot about Naraka Chaturdashi while researching the article. Happy Diwali to you and your family!

    • ajay khole

      hariom
      indraneel mukherjee.
      where r u.do u remember me,we met in times of india long back.Are u still in times ?
      regards ajay khole lic agent.
      emil-kholeab@gmail.com