Naraka Chaturdashi also known as Kali Chaudas, Roop Chaudas or Choti Diwali is celebrated a day before Diwali festival in India.
It is the second day of the five day Diwali festival. It is celebrated on the fourtheenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the Hindu calendar month of Ashwin.
The day signifies the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. According to legends, this day is dedicated to the victory of Lord Krishna over the wicked demon king Narakasur. According to another legend on this day Maha-Kali or Shakti killed the wicked demon Raktavija.
Another legend associated with this day is of Demon King Bali and Vaman Avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Naraka Chaturdashi Celebrations :
The day is called as Choti Diwali as the celebrations on this day are a bit smaller that that on the Diwali Day with fewer lights lit and fewer crackers burst.
The celebrations of Naraka Chaturdashi are different in different parts of the country. During Naraka Chaturdashi people go to the temples and offer pujas to Lord Krishna and Goddess Kali depending on the region that they live in.
Abhyang Snan is the most significant thing that is performed on this day before sunrise. It is basically a auspicious bath where in people first apply ‘Ubtan’ a special paste made by mixing kumkum in sesame oil, on their body and then take a bath. It is believed that people, who do Abhyang Snan on Naraka Chaturdashi day, can avoid going to Narak (hell).
This is described in Shrimadbhagvat Puran according to which Lord Krishna killed demon Narkasur on this day. The dying Narkasur asked Lord Krishna for a boon, “On this date (tithi) let one, who takes an auspicious bath (mangalsnan) not suffer in hell.” Lord Krishna granted him that boon. Consequently, this day also came to be known as Narak (hell) chaturdashi, and on that day people started taking an auspicious bath (abhyangasnan) before sunrise.
People in South India also performs Yamatarpan, i.e., offering to Lord Yama, the deity of death after an auspicious bath (bath with an oil massage) to overcome untimely death (apamrutyu).
On this day, women of the house make beautiful, colored rangoli in the doorway and courtyard.
In 2016, Naraka Chaturdashi will be celebrated on Saturday, 29th October 2016.