Indian festivals almost always have a beautiful story surroundinv them and the festival of Diwali, in particular, is one that has a rich history attached to it. Every single day of Diwali has a particular meaning behind it and as we slip into the festive weekend, we wanted to shed some light on what each of these days means, and how they are celebrated.
Today is November 3rd, a day when Hindus, Jains and Sikhs around the world celebrate Narak Chaturdashi - popularly known as choti diwali. As per Hindu mythology, the festival revolves around the story of Narakasura - a powerful demon king - who was blessed by the Lord Brahma that he would only die at the hands of his mother, Bhudevi (also known as the Goddess of Earth). Knowing that his mother loved him and would never harm him, Narakasura turned evil and began harassing the demi-gods. Troubled by his atrocities, the demi gods soon approached Lord Vishnu and asked him to find a solution to their problem.
When Lord Vishnu was reincarnated as the Lord Krishna, he married Satyabhama - Narakasura’s mother Bhudevi in reincarnated form. Having no recollection of her past life as his mother, Satyabhama asked her husband, Lord Krishna, to fight Narakasura and put an end to his evils. Knowing his part, Krishna soon entered into battle with Narakasura. As Satyabhama watched her husband get injured in the battle, she decided to take on the demon king himself. Fighting him with immense determination and courage, she finally killed him. Upon understanding the role that destiny had chalked out for her as Bhumidevi and her son, Narakasura, she declared that his death be celebrated as it was a sign of victory over evil. And as he took his last breath, Narakasura prayed to his mother to celebrate his death with light and color - or Narak Chaturdashi as we know and celebrate it today.
Even today, Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated by burning effigies of the demon king. People wake up early and take a bath; houses are cleaned to rid the space of negative and stale energy. Rangolis are drawn at the door and at the entrance to the house using colorful powder and rice paste. Narak Chaturdashi is also celebrated with specially cooked sweets and festive snacks.Soha Joshi