Importance of Chhoti Diwali
On the second day of five day Diwali festival, this chhoti Diwali is celebrated which is also called as the day of ‘Naraka Chaturdashi’ or small Diwali. It is believed that Lord Krishna defeated the devil Narakasur on this day putting an end to evil. So this day is very important day for Indians and they celebrate the day as chhoti Diwali. People celebrate this day with burning fewer crackers over the victory of Lord Krishna.
Chhoti Diwali is celebrated differently in south by performing different rituals. People in south wake up early in the morning before sunrise and apply a mixture of Kumkum on their foreheads which is prepared by mixing kumkum in oil which symbolizes blood and break a bitter fruit that represents the head of the demon King Narakasur who was killed by Lord Krishna and take oil bath using sandalwood paste.
In Maharashtra state there is a tradition that people take bath in the early morning on the day of Chhoti Diwali by applying uptan which is made of gram flour and fragrant powders. They do this as a custom, when women folk massaged scented oil on the body of Lord Krishna when he returned after defeating demon Narakasur and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth from his body. So this became a traditional practice in Maharashtra. And later they serve steamed vermicelli with milk and sugar or puffed rice with curd.
Origin of Chhoti Diwali :
Chhoti Diwali is originally came into existence with a story of legend which is named as Bali Pratipada where Pratipada means below the opponent’s foot. There was a king named Bali who had an immense power. And with those powers the king did many mistakes thinking that there is no one who could defeat him. Then Lord Vishnu disguised as a sage of tiny Bhramin and appeared in front of King Bali. The king offered sage to ask any wish, the sage asked Bali that he wants the land that could cover in 3 paces. King Bali immediately agreed to the wish. Then the sage assumed a gigantic form and claimed the world of Mrityuloka and Swargloka in two paces. Then sage asked king to put his foot down the 3rd time on Bali’s head, the king has to agree to keep up his promise, then the king was thrown into pathalok. Thus how the reign of Bali was overthrown.
Narakasur’s mother Bhudevi declared that his death should not be a day of mourning but the day has to be celebrated with joy.
So the day before Diwali is celebrated on a smaller scale, with fewer lights lit and fewer crackers burst. Women at the early morning after Chhoti Diwali, make beautiful, colored rangoli in the doorway and courtyard with tiny footprints made out of rice paste are a special feature of the rangolis made for Diwali. Chhoti Diwali celebrations perform ritual pooja to Goddess Laxmi and also to Lord Rama in the evening.