Choti Diwali and its significance
The second day of Diwali celebrations is popularly known as Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdashi. It falls on the 14th day of Krishna Paksha of Kartik Month as per Hindu calendar. The day begins with a holy bath followed with festivities and merry-making throughout the day.
It is important to have some knowledge about our traditions and customs. Certain rituals that are associated with special days have rich history and it is essential to be aware about the same. Naraka was the demon (asur) son of Mother Earth and Varaha (3rd Avatar of Narayan). Naraka was essentially a peace-loving soul but as we know that company matters; he too became evil and a cruel demon due to his close association with a demon called Banasura. Hence, Naraka suffixed Asur to his name and became Narakasur. He started doing unholy activities and deeds that finally brought an end to his life. He ill-treated women. When Satyabhama, wife of Lord Krishna, heard about the bad doings of Narakasur, she was enraged.
She brought this information to the notice of Lord Krishna and requested him to tale necessary action that could put a stop to the evil doings of Narakasur. Since then the day when Lord Krishna killed Narakasur is observed as Narak Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali. Narakasur’s mother, Bhudevi declared that the day should be a day of celebration and not mourning as it should symbolize the triumph of good over bad deeds. It is a night that is celebrated a day before Diwali.
It is believed that Lord Krishna took an oil bath called the Abhayanga Snan after killing Narakasur. Lord Krishna was given this bath by her Queens after killing Narakasur. The bath helped in removing the blood stains of Narakasur from the forehead of Lord Krishna. So the popular tradition of Abhayanga Bath has its origin and is followed to mark the removal of evil thoughts and negativity from one’s mind. It should be done in the morning of Choti Diwali. The body should be massaged with sesame oil. An ubtan is prepared with herbs and pulses. This paste should be applied from head to toe. The belief is that the oil bath helps the people get rid of their negativity and bad thoughts. It also helps people eliminate dead skin cells from the body and rejuvenates the skin. Hence, the day is also observed as Roop Chaudas or Roop Chaturdashi. After the sunset, homes are decorated with diyas and prepared to welcome Goddess Lakshmi.
The Eastern part of India is immersed to celebrate Kali Puja on the day of Choti Diwali. This day is dedicated to worship Goddess Kali. The grand occasion was first introduced in West Bengal by King Krishnachandra of Navadvipa. It was since then followed with great enthusiasm and fervour. The Puja is held in temples, pandals, and homes of the devotees. The date of Kali Puja coincides with Choti Diwali. The Goddess is worshipped with her favourite red-colour Hibiscus flower. She is offered rice, lentils, sweets, and fish.
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