Significance of Naraka Chaturdashi
The ancient stories of Indian history contain the key to comprehending the significance of the Naraka Chaturdashi festival. A celebration commemorating Mahakali is conducted on the day known as Naraka Chaturdashi. This event is observed on the 14th day of the Ashwin month in the Indian calendar. Every year, this ceremony is held in an effort to purge people’s lives of wickedness and sloth. It is presently practiced in order to purify oneself of all misdeeds and to save one’s soul from being doomed to hell.
Let us know more about this festival.
The story behind Naraka Chaturdashi
The mythology behind Naraka Chaturdashi has its roots in Hinduism. According to the legend, Narakasura was born when Vishnu incarnated as Varaha (boar). At that time, Goddess Bhudevi had a demon called Bhaumasura who was created from a drop of her sweat. Vishnu then gifted Bhudevi’s demon with a weapon called Vaishnavastra which caused Naraka to start tormenting both gods and humans alike with it.
Not only did he take away Indra’s white umbrella and Manishikhara but he also stole Aditi’s earrings. As a result of this, Indra felt powerless and ashamed. He went to Lord Krishna for help. Lord Krishna decided to wage a war against Murasura. However, upon Murasura‘s death, his seven sons with Peethasura as their general fought against Krishna. All of them lost the war and were killed.
In the end, Narakasura came to battle Krishna, which eventually got killed as well. After his death, Bhudevi came back to her original form and she promptly gave all the valuables and kingdoms that rightfully belonged to their owners back; just like how Indra got his umbrella and Manishikhara back while Aditi got her earrings returned Consequently, with Naraka gone along with all of his familiars including devils, demons and evil spirits; everyone became pleased.
This can be seen in how people react even today whenever an evildoer is destroyed or killed; there is always a sense of relief among good people.
Before his death, Narakasura repented for his actions and asked that people commemorate him once a year on Chaturdashi Day.
On that day, Hindus burst crackers and light lamps in honor of Narakasura. It is said that he enjoys watching the fireworks from the underworld and is pleased when people remember him with kindness. This wish was granted and from there comes the tradition of bursting crackers.
How is Naraka Chaturdashi celebrated in different parts of India?
The most important part of Narak Chaturdashi celebrations in Goa is the burning of effigies made of paper and straw. These effigies represent Narkasura and his followers, and their destruction signifies the triumph of good over evil. Every year, elaborate effigies are designed and built by artists across Goa.
An interesting tradition associated with Narak Chaturdashi is that of crushing bitter kareet fruits under one’s feet. This act is symbolic of stomping out all negativity from one’s life and welcoming positivity and goodness. Candles are also lit on this occasion as a sign of hope and prosperity.
Narak Chaturdashi would not be complete without its traditional feast or “sopari”. This meal typically consists of items like pumpkin curry, beans curry, sweet potato pudding, coconut rice cake etc., which are all prepared using seasonal produce specific to this time of year. The feast is followed by a tasty breakfast which might include items like nevri (sweet dumplings), puran poli (flatbread stuffed with sweetened chana dal) or halwa (semolina pudding).
On the eve of Naraka Chaturdashi, also known as Bhoot Chaturdashi, families in West Bengal celebrate by lighting 14 diyas (lamps) around their house. It is believed that on this night, the dead visit their loved ones on Earth. The diyas are meant to guide a family’s 14 predecessors’ home and ward off any bad spirits.
To further create a festive atmosphere and ward off any evil spirits, people often spend the evening singing bhajans (religious songs) and sharing stories. homes and temples are decorated with lights and flowers, and everyone is dressed in their best clothes. The day is spent in remembrance of those who have passed away and in prayer for their souls.
How to celebrate Naraka Chaturdashi?
1. Exchange gifts or sweets
Naraka Chaturdashi is a festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It is also about spreading joy and happiness. People give gifts or make sweets to celebrate this special day.
One of the most popular sweet dishes during Naraka Chaturdashi is Patishapta. It is a Bengali dessert made with rice flour, milk, and sugar. The dish is usually filled with caramelized coconut filling. Pancakes are also a common treat during this festive season.
2. Wear new or fresh clothes
On Naraka Chaturdashi, Hindus rise early and rub scented oil before bath. The oil is scented with fresh flowers, and the bath is meant to purify the body and soul. After the bath, males put on clean or new clothes. Then, the group shares a big breakfast.
Throughout the day, family and friends will visit each other’s homes to exchange gifts and sweets. At night, everyone comes together for a special puja, or prayer ceremony. The puja includes lighting candles and incense, singing devotional songs, and reading from religious texts.
You may assist your Indian friends rejoice by doing tiny, heartfelt things. For example, you could offer to help prepare food for the feast or decorate one of the puja altars.
3. Wish peace and happiness!
On this day, people remember that good won over evil. This is a feeling that a lot of people share. Even if you are not Hindu or Indian, wishing others happiness and prosperity on this day will be noticed and appreciated by your friends and acquaintances who celebrate this holiday in a spiritual way.
In conclusion, Naraka Chaturdashi is a very special day for the people of India. It is celebrated with great pomp and show. The festival of Naraka Chaturdashi signifies the victory of good over evil. The victory of Lord Krishna over evil forces. This day is also known as Dussehra, Vijayadashami, Dussera or Dashain in different parts of India.