Narak Chaturdashi is an important Hindu festival that is celebrated on the day prior to Diwali all over India. It is also called ‘'Choti Diwali’'. It is a festival that is dedicated to the Lord of Death, who is called ‘'Yamraj’' in Hindu mythology. It is also the day that the demon king called Narakasura was killed by the trio of Krishna, Kali, and Satyabhama. A lot of religious rituals, beliefs, and festivities are associated with this special day.
In the Hindu calendar of Vikram Samvat, Narak Chaturdashi falls in the month of Kartik. This is the 14th day, when the moon is waning, and is called the Chathurdashi day of the Krishna Paksha of that month. In the festival of Diwali, which lasts for more than 5 days, it is the second day.
Narak Chaturdashi Date 2021
|Narak Chaturdashi||4 November 2021, Thursday||several states|
In the year 2021, Narak Chaturdashi falls on 4 November, Thursday. This day is called by several other names such as Kali Chaudas, Roop Chaudas, Bhoot Chaturdashi, and Naraka Nivaran Chaturdashi.
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Narak Chaturdashi in India
In the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Goa, Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated on the same day as Diwali. In the rest of India, Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated the following night, which is the no-moon night called as Amavasya. It is called Deepavali Bhogi in some parts of South India.
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Narak Chaturdashi Mythology
The mythology of Narak Chathurdashi symbolises the elimination of darkness or evil by the power of the light or the Divine goodness. It is why on this day, lamps or diyas are lit up all over India where Diwali is celebrated. Some of the stories that are associated with this festival are as follows:
The killing of Narakasura: It is believed that the demon king Narakasura was tormenting people on earth. Unable to bear the torture anymore, the people prayed to Lord Krishna and Goddess Kali for help. While some mythological stories talk about Narakasura being killed by Lord Krishna, others talk about his killing by Goddess Kali. That is why this day is also called Kali Chaudas. This is prevalent in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.
In the states in India where Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated on the no-moon day prior to Diwali, the next day people light up lamps or diyas to celebrate the killing of this demon king and the banishment of evil and darkness from the earth.
Narak Chaturdashi Rituals
Narak Chaturdashi rituals are observed in a wide variety of ways all across India. In rural areas of India, it is celebrated as if it is a harvest festival. Lord Hanuman is worshipped on this day in some parts of India with an offering of rice flakes, jaggery, ghee, and sesame seeds with a special offering of coconuts. The rice is obtained from the fresh harvest of the month. The puja is conducted using special flowers, oil, and sandalwood.
Usually, people will wake up earlier than usual on this day, massage themselves with special herbal oils, and take a ritual bath. This is also called Abhayanga Snan which is to be done before sunrise in the presence of the moon. It is believed that the sesame oil which is used for this bath will help to protect the person from poverty and misfortune.
Clean or new clothes are then worn. Visits are made to the family temple of their native places, especially to the mother goddess called Kula Devi. Food is also offered to the ancestors on this day in certain parts of India.
Breakfast is enjoyed with family and friends. A lavish lunch is also enjoyed with special sweet delicacies. In the evening, fireworks are set off which is watched with a great deal of excitement by all.
In West Bengal, this day is also called Bhoot Chaturdashi, where it is believed that the souls of departed ones visit their loved ones on earth as the veil between worlds becomes thinner on this day. Some believe that 14 forefathers visit the family on this day so 14 diyas are lit around the perimeter of the house.
In Goa, paper effigies of Narakasura are made in order to symbolize evil. This is then filled with firecrackers and grass. It is after these effigies are burnt and fireworks are set off early in the morning at 4 am that people return to their homes and take their ritual baths. A berry called Kareet is crushed under the feet to symbolize the crushing of evil. Sweet delicacies and different kinds of poha (beaten rice) is cooked and distributed among family and friends.
In Tamil Nadu, a pooja is done for Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, on this day. They also observe a special diet restriction or fast called ‘'nombu’' on this day.
Narak Chaturdashi helps people to remember that evil can be overcome with the goodness in one’s heart as well as with the blessings of the divine.
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