Every year, Hindus around the world come together to celebrate the joyous festival of Diwali. This five-day long festival is filled with lights, sweets, and prayers. One of the most significant days of Diwali is Naraka Chaturdashi, which falls on the Chaturdashi of the Krishna Paksha in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin or Kartika.
Naraka Chaturdashi, also known as Krishna Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas, Narak Chaudas, Roop Chaudas, Choti Diwali, Narak Nivaran Chaturdashi or Bhoot Chaturdashi, holds a special place in Hindu mythology. It is believed that on this day, the asura (demon) Narakasura was defeated by Lord Krishna and his consort Satyabhama.
The story behind Naraka Chaturdashi is an intriguing one. According to Hindu literature, Narakasura was a powerful and ruthless demon who had acquired immense power through a boon. With his newfound strength, he began wreaking havoc on both the gods and humans. His tyranny knew no bounds, and the gods, unable to defeat him, sought the help of Lord Krishna.
Lord Krishna, known for his bravery and wit, agreed to help the gods and put an end to Narakasura’s reign of terror. Along with his beloved Satyabhama, Lord Krishna embarked on a fierce battle with the demon. After a long and arduous fight, Lord Krishna emerged victorious, freeing the world from Narakasura’s evil clutches.
To commemorate this triumph of good over evil, Hindus celebrate Naraka Chaturdashi with great enthusiasm. The day begins with an early morning bath, followed by the application of aromatic oils and herbal pastes on the body. This ritual, known as ‘abhyang snan,’ is believed to purify the soul and ward off evil spirits.
As the day progresses, people light oil lamps and decorate their homes with colorful rangolis. The air is filled with the sweet aroma of incense sticks and the sound of devotional songs. Families come together to perform puja (prayers) and seek the blessings of the deities.
One of the unique customs associated with Naraka Chaturdashi is the tradition of breaking bitter fruit, such as bitter gourd or neem, symbolizing the destruction of Narakasura. It is believed that by consuming these bitter fruits, one can cleanse their body and mind of any negativity.
Another fascinating aspect of Naraka Chaturdashi is the practice of lighting firecrackers. The loud noises and bright lights are believed to drive away evil spirits and bring prosperity and happiness into one’s life.
As the day comes to an end, families gather for a grand feast, sharing delicious sweets and savory dishes. It is a time of joy and celebration, as people come together to rejoice in the victory of good over evil.
Naraka Chaturdashi is not just a festival; it is a reminder of the power of righteousness and the triumph of good over evil. It is a time to reflect on our own actions and strive to make the world a better place.