India is known for its tourist destinations, historical places, different festivals and spices. This popularity has been maintained from long time in history.
There is a diverse culture in India. People with different religion, culture and tradition stay together in this country. In spite of this diversity they celebrate the festivals together.
Diwali falls in the month of Kartik as per the Hindu calendar which falls in the month of October or November. Diwali is called the festival of lights.
This festival removes the darkness or evil from our life and bring light and joy in our life. It is celebrated for four or five days according to people’s own culture and tradition.
These five days people worship different Gods and Goddesses according to the culture. They also celebrate with unity, devotion and excitement.
What is Naraka Chaturdashi?
It is also known as Choti Diwali and is the following day after Dhanteras. It is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight in the Ashwin month. This year Naraka Chaturdashi will be celebrated on 6th of November .
This festival is celebrated to remember the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Narakasura. Kali Chaudas is another name for Naraka Chaturdashi. This day is remembered for Goddess kali who killed the demon.
History of Naraka Chaturdashi
The history behind the celebration of Naraka Chaturdashi goes back to centuries. The story is about Ranti Devi. He was a clever and spiritual king.
He always kept himself busy by helping others and in religious works. One day Yama, known as the God of Death, went to the king to take him to hell.
Ranti Devi did not know why Yama wants to take him to hell. He asked Yama why he was taking him to hell because he had not sinned nor did any bad work in his entire life.
The God of Death replied him that once a priest had come to his door and he went back hungry.
This is the reason he had come to take him to hell. Ranti Devi requested him to grant him one more year of life. Yama agreed to this.
The king was supposed to keep fast on the day of Naraka Chaturdashi and give food to the priests. Apart from this, he also had to ask for forgiveness for what he had done with the hungry priest.
This fast would help the king to be free from that sin. After that day people celebrate this festival so that their sins are forgiven and they are not sent to hell.
The kingdom of Pradyoshapuram was ruled by Narakasura. He was the son of Bhudevi. Lord Brahma gave him great powers but he made the villagers had to suffer a lot under his rule.
Everyone requested Lord Krishna for the help. But because of a boon Naraka could be killed by anyone except his mother.
So, Lord Krishna asked his wife Sathyabhama to help him in the battle against Naraka. Sathyabhama was a re-embodiment of Bhudevi.
While battling Naraka’s arrow hit Lord Krishna and he became unconscious. Then, Sathyabhama killed Naraka by hitting him with the arrow.
Lord Krishna told her later about the boon which she has taken as Naraka’s mother. So, her mother said to everyone that her son’s death should be celebrated instead of mourning.
Lord Krishna’s body had splatters of Naraka’s blood. So, to remove that he took an oil bath. This is why Naraka Chaturdashi is celebrated with so much happiness and joy.
Celebration of Naraka Chaturdashi
On the previous night of Naraka Chaturdashi, people decorate the pots beautifully and put garlands of marigold on them. Inside the pot mango leaves and water is kept.
On the day of Naraka Chaturdashi people wake up early and everyone takes an oil bath and use the water kept in the pot the previous night.
After this bath people wear new clothes to start the celebration. Rangolis are beautifully made in every house.
Then, puja is performed using sandalwood, oil and flowers and people worship Lord Krishna. After the puja is over sweets or Prasad is given to everyone.
In the afternoon people eat sweet and delicious food. Later, the people go to each other’s house and give their best wishes on the festival.
Some devotees offer meals to brahmans on this day as it is believed that by doing this they are thanking God who has appeared as brahmans.
As this day is also known as Choti Diwali, people light the lamps and keep them in the entire house. In some parts of the country there are a few differences in the celebration like in the oil bath.
They add something more according to their beliefs and culture. Some of them even burn the effigies of Naraka and burst crackers.
Significance of Naraka Chaturdashi
The festival of Naraka Chaturdashi teaches us that we should focus more on the betterment of the society. It should have more importance than our own needs.
This can be learnt by reading about what Bhudevi did to save to the people. People perform puja with full devotion on this day so that there is light in the life and all the evil things goes away.
Lord Krishna is worshipped on this day as he won against the demon. The win makes us realize that good always wins over the demon or evil. If darkness exists in our life, there is always a chance that there will be light.
The oil bath is very important on the festival of Naraka Chaturdashi because Lord Krishna and his wife performed this oil bath when their bodies had splatters of Naraka’s blood.
We should never do any of the work similar to what the demons did. Otherwise we will be made to suffer by God.
All the festivals are very important as they teach us about our cultures and traditions. It is the festivals which make us eager to learn more about our own religion.