Significance Of Celebrating ‘Choti Diwali’ or Naraka Chaturdashi or Kali Chaudas

Kali Chaudas is a Hindu festival that falls on the fourteenth day of Chaturdashi of the Krishna Paksha tithi of Vikram Samvat of the Kartika month. The day precedes Lakshmi Puja of the five day Hindu festival of Diwali. Also referred to as Naraka-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is the day to abolish laziness and evil that creates havoc in one’s life. Kali Chaudas or Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated just a day before Diwali and is therefore also called Choti Diwali. Besides, the festival is also named as Roop Chaudas, Naraka Nivaran Chaturdashi or Bhoot Chaturdashi.

Date and Muhurat time to perform Puja on Kali Chaudas:

FestivalsDate / Muhurat Time
Kali ChaudasWednesday, October 30, 2024
Kali Chaudas Muhurat11:41 PM to 12:30 AM, Oct 31
Chaturdashi Tithi Begins01:15 PM on Oct 30, 2024
Chaturdashi Tithi Ends03:52 PM on Oct 31, 2024

Kali Chaudas Meaning

In the word Kali Chaudas Kali means dark or eternal, it also refers to Goddess Mahakali who killed the demon Narkasura on this day and Chaudas refers to the fourteenth day. Thus, together the word means the killing of the demon by Goddess Kali on the fourteenth day of the waxing Moon of the Kartik month. Narka Charudashi also refers to Narka as the demon Narkasur and Chaturdashi means the fourteenth day (tithi) of the lunar fortnight paksha the day he was slaughtered by Goddess Kali.

Kali Chaudas Story

The festival of Kali Chaudas or Narka Chaturdashi has many legends to its credit. Let’s discuss some known and unknown facts and myths related to this day.

  • As per Puranas, Naraksura, the son of mother Earth was granted a boon by Lord Brahma of being killed only by the hands of his mother. The vain and wicked demon started dictating the three worlds. The Gods and Goddesses were easy prey to his assaults and atrocities. At the behest of the Gods, Lord Vishnu incarnated himself as Lord Krishna on the day of Kali Chaudas to save them from the disaster. Unfortunately, Lord Krishna fell unconscious by a power-packed arrow released by Narakasura during the war. Satyabhama, the wife of Lord Krishna, who was then his charioteer, picked up her weapons and killed Narakasura. Satyabhama is said to be an embodiment of Goddess earth. Lord Brahma’s boon was testified as Narakasura was killed by his mother.
  • As per another legend, Narakasura desired to marry Goddess Kamakhya. But, the Goddess was ready only after the fulfilment of her conditions. She directed him to build down steps at the foothill of Nilachal Hill ( Guwahati, Assam). The task was to be completed before dawn. The excited demon started working on the mammoth mission with great enthusiasm. Growing aware of his intentions, Goddess Kamakhya created an illusion of dawn by the crowing of a rooster. A foolish Narkasura immediately left the task unfinished in dismal and was instantly killed by the Goddess. This episode is believed to have occurred on the day of Kali Chaudas.
  • A lesser-known legend relates to the Varaha Avatar of Lord Vishnu where the Lord took the form of a wild boar to annihilate the notorious demon king Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashapu had hidden mother earth at the bottom of the sea. Lord Vishnu appeared as a wild boar, eliminated Hiranyaksha and then lifted Mother Earth on his tusks. He enabled Mother Earth to rotate back uninterruptedly on her axis as he balanced her on his tusks. It was the day of Naraka Chaturdashi or Kali Chaudas when mother Earth moved back to her place. It is believed that Narakasura was the son of Goddess Earth and the Varaha or Boar avatar of Lord Vishnu. Thus, Narakasura is often referred to as Bhaumasura.

Kali Chaudas/ Naraka Chaturdashi Importance

The night of Kali Chaudas evokes voodoo and a sense of occult. It is the most dangerous night of the year that holds great significance for exorcists and tantriks who perform evil or black magic practices. Kali Chaudas night is a symbol of reawakening the concept of dark and the secretive world of the unknown. Also known as the Halloween Day of India,  the night of Kali Chaudas day belongs to appeasing unhappy souls. Crematoriums or burial grounds are thronged by practitioners of black magic, tantriks, witch doctors or sorcerers who carry out ceremonies to please Lord Kaal Bhairav or Goddess Kali.

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Kali Chaudas Puja Vidhi and Celebrations

Kali Chaudas Puja Vidhi and celebrations are followed as,

  • Devotees wake up early to anoint their bodies with scented oils. They have a hair bath. The application of kajal is believed to ward off evil eyes.
  • Abhyanga Snan before sunrise on Kali Chaudas or Narak Chaturdashi day helps to get over poverty, unforeseen events, misfortune, etc.
  • Lighting Diyas is said to attract good luck and prosperity.
  • The Puja vidhi performed at night is followed by meals that devotees take to break their day-long fast.
  • The day is also dedicated to appeasing deceased souls who are believed to visit earth to accept special offerings made by their family.
  • Coconuts, oil, flowers, Chandan and sindur are offered to Lord Hanuman. A special prasad is made out of Til or sesame seeds, jaggery and Poha( rice flakes) and ghee.
  • The rituals of Kali Choudas strongly suggest the origin of Diwali as a harvest festival. Therefore, in rural areas people cook traditional delicacies from pounded and semi-cooked rice extracted from the fresh harvest available at the time. This custom is prevalent both in rural and urban areas of Western India.
  • At some places, people burn paper-made effigies of Narakasura, filled with grass and firecrackers symbolising the destruction of evil.
  • A bitter berry called ‘kareet’ crushed under the feet is considered a token of killing Narakasura, symbolising evil and removal of ignorance.
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