Naraka Chaturdashi, widely recognized as Kali Chaudas, stands as a pivotal Hindu festival celebrated on the 14th day of the Krishna Paksha during the Hindu calendar month of Kartika. This auspicious day, which falls on the second day of the grand Diwali festival, also known as Deepavali, carries immense significance in the hearts of millions of Hindus.

Deeply rooted in Hindu mythology, Naraka Chaturdashi commemorates the legendary victory of Lord Krishna and Satyabhama over the demon Narakasura, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. The festival is marked by a series of religious rituals and customs, starting with an early morning Abhyang Snan, a ritual bath with Ubatan paste, which is believed to cleanse one from the sufferings of hell.

Throughout the day, homes are adorned with oil lamps and diyas, signifying the welcome of Goddess Lakshmi and the dispelling of darkness. Families come together in unity, offering prayers and bursting firecrackers to celebrate the victory of light and righteousness.

Naraka Chaturdashi serves as a powerful reminder of the age-old values of purity, family togetherness, and the eternal battle between good and evil. This festive occasion not only brings joy and merriment but also reinforces the profound cultural and spiritual heritage of the Hindu community.

Naraka Chaturdashi 2023 will be celebrated on Sunday, 12 November 2023.

Naraka Chaturdashi and Diwali on the same day

Naraka Chaturdashi is the 14th day of the waning phase (Krishna Paksha) during the month of Kartik. Diwali is celebrated on the Amavasya (New Moon day) of the same month, which is the day after Chaturdashi. So, technically, Diwali comes one day after Naraka Chaturdashi.

However, it is often seen, as in 2023, that both Naraka Chaturdashi and Diwali are observed on the same day. This is due to the discrepancy that exists between the solar and lunar calendars.

According to the lunar calendar, the Chaturdashi Tithi is from November 11, 01:58 PM – November 12, 02:45 PM and Amavasya Tithi, which is Diwali, is from November 12, 02:45 PM – November 13, 02:57 PM.

As you can see, in the solar calendar, the day of Chaturdashi and the night of Diwali coincide on November 12, and hence both celebrations take place on the same date.

Naraka Chaturdashi’s important Timings

  • Sunrise – November 12, 6:42 AM
  • Sunset – November 12, 5:39 PM
  • Chaturdashi Tithi Timing – November 11, 01:58 PM – November 12, 02:45 PM
  • Abhyang Snan Muhurta – November 12, 05:27 AM – 06:42 AM

Mythological Significance: The Triumph Over Narakasura

The genesis of Naraka Chaturdashi is intricately woven into the fabric of Hindu mythology, revolving around the compelling legend of the vanquishing of the dreaded demon Narakasura by the divine intervention of Lord Krishna and his formidable consort, Satyabhama. In the annals of Hindu scriptures, Narakasura is portrayed as a tyrannical and malevolent demon who terrorized the world with his wickedness.

According to the sacred texts, it was on the day of Naraka Chaturdashi that the divine forces of Lord Krishna and Satyabhama converged to confront and defeat Narakasura, thereby liberating the world from his oppressive reign. This epic confrontation serves as a profound allegory, symbolizing the eternal battle between good and evil. The victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura is a compelling representation of the ultimate triumph of righteousness and virtue, a theme celebrated with immense fervor during Naraka Chaturdashi. The festival, in essence, serves as a poignant reminder of the ageless values of morality and the relentless pursuit of light in the face of darkness.

Religious Observances: Bathing and Lighting of Lamps

The commencement of Naraka Chaturdashi is marked by the break of dawn, as devout Hindus engage in a series of early morning religious rituals that hold deep spiritual significance. Rising before sunrise, they partake in a sacred act known as Abhyang Snan, a ritual bath of immense importance. During this purifying bath, individuals apply ‘Ubatan,’ a paste crafted from a blend of oil, herbs, fragrant flowers, and other beautifying ingredients. This ritual is not just a physical cleansing but is believed to cleanse the soul as well. It carries the profound belief that by performing this sacred act, one can rid themselves of the sufferings of hell, ensuring spiritual purification. Conversely, the failure to partake in this ritual is thought to lead an individual directly to hell.

Following the Abhyang Snan, people apply kajal (kohl) to protect themselves from the “Kali Nazar” or the malevolent influence of the evil eye. Wearing new clothes after this holy bath is a common practice, symbolizing a fresh start and the shedding of past impurities.Wealth horoscope

Homes are aglow with the warm light of oil lamps, diyas, and lamps, as they welcome Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth and prosperity. Special offerings, or Prasad, are lovingly made to honor the Goddess, and heartfelt prayers are offered, beseeching her divine blessings. Family members, especially children, join in the celebrations by bursting firecrackers, adding to the jubilant and festive spirit that encapsulates Naraka Chaturdashi. This day truly exemplifies the essence of spiritual purity, protection from negative influences, and the celebration of the divine’s blessings in the form of wealth and prosperity.

Worship of Deities: Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Hanuman

Naraka Chaturdashi is not merely a day of celebration but a profound occasion for devotion and worship in the Hindu calendar. Alongside the veneration of Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Hanuman, the epitome of strength, courage, and devotion, holds a special place in the hearts of devotees on this sacred day.

Devotees gather in temples and homes to offer their heartfelt prayers and devotion to Lord Hanuman. They bring fragrant flowers, aromatic oil, and soothing sandalwood as offerings to the deity, expressing their deep reverence and gratitude for his unwavering protection and strength.

A significant part of the worship involves the preparation of a special ‘Prasad,’ a sacred offering to Lord Hanuman. This Prasad is carefully crafted from ingredients such as rice flakes, sesame seeds, jaggery, and coconut. Each element of this offering symbolizes different aspects of devotion and spirituality, creating a meaningful and sacred connection between the devotee and the divine.

Naraka Chaturdashi, with its dual focus on Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Hanuman, encapsulates the essence of devotion, gratitude, and the pursuit of divine blessings. It is a day where devotees express their unwavering faith in these deities and seek their guidance and protection in their spiritual journey.

Culinary Delights and Fresh Harvest Tradition

One of the distinctive and cherished facets of Naraka Chaturdashi is the tradition of preparing delectable dishes using hand-pounded rice, commonly known as “poha” or “pova.” This tradition goes beyond mere culinary delights; it symbolizes a profound connection to the harvest season and the celebration of agricultural abundance.
Freshly harvested rice, meticulously pounded by hand, serves as the core ingredient in these culinary creations. The use of this rice signifies the bountiful yield of the season and the gratitude for nature’s generosity. It is a reminder of the essential role that agriculture and the harvest play in sustaining life.

This practice is not confined to rural areas but also finds enthusiastic participation in urban settings, particularly in Western India, where the fusion of tradition and modernity is a hallmark of the culture. Families come together to prepare an array of mouthwatering dishes, each dish a testament to the rich agricultural heritage of the region.
As the aroma of these freshly prepared delicacies fills the air, it encapsulates the essence of Naraka Chaturdashi – a celebration of abundance, gratitude, and the deep-rooted connection between the festival and the harvest season.

Fasting and Family Unity

A noteworthy observance during Naraka Chaturdashi is the practice of fasting, undertaken by a devout section of the celebrants. This fasting ritual is characterized by unwavering dedication and involves the worship of two revered deities, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Kuber, the divine custodians of wealth and prosperity.

Devotees who opt for this fast approach it with great devotion, adhering to a strict regimen that refrains from the consumption of food. Throughout the day, their focus remains on the spiritual aspect of the festival, seeking the divine blessings of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Kuber.

The breaking of the fast is a significant moment, symbolizing not only the fulfillment of the fast but also spiritual purification. It is only after completing all the puja rituals with utmost reverence and devotion that the fast is concluded. The Prasad, an offering of love and gratitude, becomes the first sustenance after the day of spiritual devotion, emphasizing the importance of purity and divine blessings in one’s life.

Naraka Chaturdashi’s fasting tradition exemplifies the deep spiritual connection that devout followers have with the deities associated with wealth and prosperity, reflecting their sincere yearning for divine grace and blessings.

Regional Variations: Burning Effigies and Bhoot Chaturdashi

Naraka Chaturdashi’s celebration takes on diverse forms in different regions, adding layers of cultural richness to the festival. In the coastal state of Goa, for instance, a unique tradition involves the creation of effigies representing Narakasura, which are filled with grass and firecrackers. These effigies are constructed with meticulous care and burnt early in the morning. The fiery spectacle symbolizes the triumph over evil and ignorance, with the crackling firecrackers representing the vanquishing of malevolent forces.

In contrast, West Bengal and Bangladesh observe a distinctive ritual known as Bhoot Chaturdashi on the day before Kali Puja. This occasion is dedicated to guiding the souls of the deceased back to their homes. To achieve this, families place diyas (oil lamps) all around their houses to illuminate dark corners and chase away any lurking evil spirits. This practice reflects the strong cultural belief in the presence of spirits and the collective effort to ensure their peaceful passage, making it an integral part of the region’s observance of Naraka Chaturdashi.

A Festival of Light and Unity

Naraka Chaturdashi, known as Kali Chaudas, stands as a radiant celebration that illuminates the hearts and spirits of millions of Hindus worldwide. This festival is a profound reminder of the enduring values of light, unity, and the conquest of good over evil. Its rich tapestry of mythology, diverse regional customs, and vibrant rituals coalesce into a unique and joyous celebration that transcends borders.

It underscores the significance of spiritual purification and the strengthening of familial bonds, bringing loved ones together to partake in the festivities. The resonance of firecrackers and the enticing aroma of delectable delicacies pervade the air, imbuing Naraka Chaturdashi with a spirit of delight and spiritual significance.

In essence, Naraka Chaturdashi is a festival that unites communities, strengthens faith, and commemorates the timeless battle between righteousness and malevolence. It encapsulates the quintessence of Hindu culture and spirituality, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of those who partake in its revelry.

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