Why is Choti Diwali celebrated:- Many festivals are coming on its way. Dashain, Diwali is coming soon. Today we are here with information about Choti Diwali. Check it out;
Why Is Chhoti Diwali Is Celebrated
Choti Diwali is celebrated the day before Diwali. The festival is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi in many parts of India. It was named after the great battle of Krishna and Narakasura. Since the festival of lights has a great role when it comes to celebrations, we often ignore the Choti Diwali that precedes the big day, but it has its meaning.
Diwali is a five-day festival, which starts from Dhanteras, Naraka Chaturdasi (Choti Diwali), Diwali, Padva until the last day Bhai Dooj. The festival is also known as Narak Nivaran Chaturdashi, which means hell prevention. In general, it is believed that devotees who perform rituals on this day and take a sacred bath can avoid going to hell.
According to the Scriptures, the demon king, Narakashur, who ruled Pragjyotishpur had held 16,000 girls in his cruel hostage and snatched the earrings of the goddess Aditi, considered as the mother of all gods and goddesses.
One day before Naraka Chaturdashi, Lord Krishna defeated the demon and freed the girls from his cruel rule. He also recovered the precious earrings of the goddess Aditi. As the girls were not sure of their future and acceptance in society, they turned to Lord Krishna for advice. Lord Krishna and his wife, Queen Satyabhama, decided that everyone should marry Lord Krishna and be recognized as their wives.
Chhoti Diwali day is also known as Bali Pratipada (the word ‘Pratiprada’ means someone under the foot of a challenger). The legend says that Bali was a very influential king. All the gods feared that he could conquer the three Lokas and rule them unfairly. To combat this fear, Lord Vishnu went to him in Vamana’s avatar and asked him to give him only 3 feet of space from his kingdom.
Bali, full of pride, called him a beggar and agreed to give whatever he asked. The intelligent Lord Vishnu covered the three Lokas in just two steps, asking the majestic king where he should put his third foot. Bali told him to keep it in his head and, therefore, Lord Vishnu conquered his head and snatched the three Lokas.
And so, Chhoti Diwali is celebrated to rejoice the victory of goodness and the defeat of greed. Now we can know why this day has a much deeper meaning than a mere display of greatness. Therefore, the festival is dedicated to eliminating agreed and welcoming a prosperous future.
On this day, people across the country clean and decorate their homes and also make rangolis. They also light Diyas in and around their homes at night to avoid evil energies. Devotees also perform Abhyanga Snan, a sacred bath on this day.
The day is also called as Roop Chaturdashi and Roop Chaudas. During immersion in holy water, people apply the mask made from Sesame oil (til) sandalwood powder, turmeric, and milk cream.
Choti Diwali is coming soon. So, enjoy this festival to the fullest.
By Poonam Neupane
The Story Behind ‘Chhoti Diwali’ (Naraka Chaturdashi)
Chhoti Diwali, also known as Naraka Chaturdashi, as the name suggests is like the Hindu festival of Diwali. It is celebrated a day before Diwali. The festival falls on the 14th day ( or on Chaturdashi as known in the Hindu lunar calendar) of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Ashwin (or Ashoj, as known more commonly in Nepal).
The festival is celebrated in parts of India. In Nepal, the festival is not as popular. In addition to being the second day of the five days long Diwali, the festival is also celebrated as a day to remember the spirits (deceased people) in the Bengali culture by lighting Diyos and praying for the peace of the spirits.
The literal translation of the words into English means “Small Diwali” and that is exactly how it is celebrated. The house is decorated and firecrackers are burst but on a smaller scale than in Diwali. As the day is one day before the main Diwali it serves as the perfect intro into the main festival of Diwali.
Origins of Chhoti Diwali and Significance
The story behind the origin of the day comes from Hindu mythologies, like most of the other Hindu festivals.
According to the story, there once was a demon king, Narakasur ( the ‘Sur’ to the end of the names in Hindu mythology denote that the person is evil), who was the ruler of Pragjyotishpur, a region that lies to the south of Nepal.
The story tells, Narakasur, after defeating Lord Indra, took away the beautiful earrings of Aditi and also imprisoned 16 thousand daughters of the deities and saints. Aditi is known as the mother of Gods and was related to Lord Krishna’s wife, Satyabhama.
Upon hearing of this terrible act by Narakasur, Satyabhama was furious. She could not let this terrible act of evil happen to all those women. She then went to Lord Krishna with a request.
She requested Krishna to grant her the chance to kill Narakasur and rid the world from his evil intentions. According to the story, Narakasur had been given a curse that his demise would come from the hands of a woman.
Lord Krishna granted Satyabhama her wish. She could now fight Narakasur thanks to the boon from Lord Krishna. The battle began and Satyabhama had Lord Krishna as her charioteer. Knowing Lord Krishna was on her side, Satyabhama knew that the defeat of Narakasur was inevitable.
But, Lord Krishna had different ideas. To empower Satyabhama, Lord Krishna pretended to lose consciousness. Satyabhama had to battle on her own now. And she did so very courageously and finally defeated and beheaded the demon king.
Upon the death of Narakasur, all of the imprisoned women were freed and Lord Krishna married all of them. The divine earrings of Aditi were recovered as well.
The day of the defeat of Narakasur is the day before Naraka Chaturdashi. The day after the defeat is being celebrated ever since as Naraka Chaturdashi.
Thanks to the help and empowerment from Lord Krishna, the demon king was defeated and all the imprisoned women were now free. Lord Krishna, used the blood of the demon king to smear on his forehead as a symbol of the victory, the victory of the good over bad.
Lord Krishna, returned home from battle early the next day (the day of Naraka Chaturdashi) and was very well received back home. The women massaged his body with scented oil to rid his body of all the dirt and blood. It is because of this occurrence, people started taking baths early in the day, before sunrise, in the Hindu culture.
On another side of the land, something interesting happened. While Narakasur was dead, his mother, Bhudevi, announced that the death of her son was not to be remembered as a day of sadness and mourning but as a day of celebration and happiness.
It is believed that due to her declaration to celebrate, the festival of Diwali was born. The lightings and Diyos, as well as the firecrackers, represent the celebrations.
The celebrations have different forms across different regions and cultures. The day of Chhoti Diwali is mainly only celebrated in India. In the southern part of India, the day is regarded as the day when the goodness defeated evil. The day of the celebration, people start early before sunrise.
A paste is made by mixing Kumkum (red pigment, called abir in Nepali). The paste is a representation of the blood of Narakasur. A fruit is broken representing the head of Narakasur smashed by Lord Krishna and the mixture is applied on the forehead. The people also take an early bath like the one by Lord Krishna upon returning home from the battle.
Elsewhere, in the Maharastra state of India in the central-western region of the country, early baths (before sunrise) with oil and flour are taken on the day.
The celebrations are continued throughout the day by bursting firecrackers and enlightening the houses with colorful lights. In the Bengali culture, the is dedicated to remembering the deceased. The houses are made bright and colorful with lights and people pray for the peace of the spirits.
In addition to being Naraka Chaturdashi, the day of Chhoti Diwali is also known as Bali Pratipada. The word “Pratiprada” means to blow the opponent’s foot.
According to a story, Bali was a very powerful king. Bali’s might and power were so big that even to gods feared that Bali would conquer all three Loks, heaven, earth, and hell. Lord Bishnu, to put an end to this, went to Bali disguised as a sage. Lord Bishnu then asked Bali to present him all the land he could cover in 3 paces of his feet.
Bali, being the powerful king that he was, agreed to help the poor sage by granting his wish. The sage then cleared the disguise and Lord Vishnu covered all the Loks in just two paces. For the third pace, he asked for Bali’s head. Bali agreed and the reign was over.
And thus the celebrations began.
By Prajwali Bhattrai
Legends behind Chhoti Diwali
The story goes that the demon king Narakasur ruler of Pragjyotishpur (a province in southern Nepal) after defeating Lord Indra had torn Aditi’s magnificent earrings, the Mother Goddess (sovereign of Suraloka and a relative of Satyabhama, the wife of Lord Krishna).
The legend also says that Narakasura received the curse that a woman would kill him. Krishna gave Satyabhama a blessing to fight with Narakasura. With Krishna as charioteer, Satyabhama entered the battlefield.
During the war, Krishna fainted for a while, a divine act arranged adopted to authorize Satyabhama to kill the demon. After the beheading of Narakasura, the imprisoned women were released and Krishna agreed to marry them.
Then, the day before in Narakachaturdashi, the divine intervention of Lord Krishna led to the murder of the demon, Narakasura and the release of the damsels imprisoned, as well as the recovery of the precious earrings of Aditi.
As a symbol of that victory, Lord Krishna anointed his forehead with the blood of the demon king. Krishna returned home early in the morning from Narakachaturdashi. The women massaged her body with scented oil and gave her a good bath to remove dirt from her body.
Since then, the custom of bathing before dawn on this day has become a traditional practice, especially in Maharashtra. Since then, Deepavali is celebrated by people every year with joyful celebrations with lots of fun, jokes and fireworks. In southern India, that victory of the divine over the mundane is celebrated in a very particular way.
People wake up before dawn preparing a dough by mixing Kumkum in oil, symbolizing blood and having broken a bitter fruit that represents the head of the demon king that was crushed by Krishna, apply that mixture on the forehead.
Then they have an oil bath with sandalwood paste. Also in Maharashtra, the first traditional baths with oil and “Uptan” (pasta) of gram flour and scented powders are a “must”.
Throughout the bath ritual, children have fun with deafening sounds of firecrackers and fireworks for children to have fun bathing. Then steamed noodles with milk and sugar or puffed rice with curd are served.