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Kali means Dark (evil) and Chaudash means Fourteenth. Thus, celebrated 14th day of Ashwin, Kali Choudas is the day allotted to the worship of MahaKali or Shakti and is believed that on this day Kali killed the wicked Raktabija. Kali Chaudash is a day to abolish laziness and evil which create hell in our life and shine light on life. The strength to protect others is referred to as Kali, and if its used for God's work it is called Mahakali.
Kali Chaudash is also attached to the legend of Lord Hanuman. Hanumanji as a baby was very hungry. Whilst lying down he saw the sun in the sky and thought it was a fruit and went to pick it. He flew into the sky and put the whole sun in his mouth causing darkness throughout the entire universe. Lord Indra requested that Hanumanji return the sun. When Hanumanji refused, Lord Indra unleashed his vajra and knocked Hanumanji down to earth releasing the Sun.
On this day we offer poojan to Hanumanji as our Kuldev to protect us from Evil. The poojan is performed with oil, flowers, chandan and sindur. Coconuts are also offered to Hanumanji and prashad of Sesame seed, ladoos and rice with ghee and sugar.
The rituals of Kali Choudash are strongly suggestive of the origin of Deepavaali as a harvest festival. On this day delicacies are prepared from pounded semi-cooked rice (called Poha or Pova). This rice is taken from the fresh harvest available at that time. This custom is prevalent both in rural and urban areas especially in Western India.
On this day, a head wash and application of kajal in the eyes is believed to keep away the kali nazar (evil eye). Some say that those who are into tantra, learn their 'mantras' on this day. Alternatively, people offer Naivedya (food) to the goddess that is local to where they are originally from. This goddess is called their 'Kul Devi', in order to cast off evil spirits. Some families also offer food to their forefathers on this day. The second day of Diwali is known as Kali Choudash in Gujarat, Rajasthan & few part of Maharashtra.
In many parts of India, the second day of Diwali is also known as Naraka Chaturdashi.
Narkachaturdashi originates from days of Lord Krishna. God Yama is also worshiped on this day to get over the fear of demon Narakasura. Lamps with four wicks are lighted at various places. People make an effigy of Narakasura, carry it to the outskirts, and burn it. Later, they take bath and burst crackers. This is the day of Narakasura's death and hence a celebration for all.
There are many popular stories associated with this day, but the most widely accepted one is that of Satyabhama (Krishna's wife) and Narakasura. Narakasur was a demon king, ruling Pragjothishyapur, a southern province in the present day Nepal. He gained a boon from Brahma that he shall die only in the hands of a woman. Armed with the boon, he became a cruel king. Narakasura was infamous for his wicked ruling and high disregard for gods and women.
Addicted to power, he defeated Lord Indra (king of gods) and stole the earrings of Aditi (the heavenly mother goddess). Aditi was a relative of Satyabhama. When she heard of the injustice being done to women in general by Narakasura and his behaviour with Aditi, she was enraged. Satyabhama went to ask Lord Krishna, permission to wage a war against Narakasura, Krishna not only agreed, but also offered to drive her chariot in the Warfield.
On the day of the war, both the armies fought bravely and the war continued for some time. Satyabhama fought Narakasura bravely, but she was no match to his trained war wisdom. After some days, when Narakasura got a chance, he took an aim at Krishna, hurting him lightly. Krishna fainted and made Satyabhama furious. She doubled her attack on the demon king and killed him finally. Her victory on Narakasura translated into freedom for all his prisoners and honoring of Aditi.
To announce the death of Narakasura, Krishna smeared the demon's blood on his forehead and returned the very next day along with Satyabhama to his kingdom. On their arrival, preparations were made to cleanse Krishna of the demon's blood. At dusk, the whole city was lit with lamps and fireworks were displayed to rejoice in peace after the death of the demon king. Thus, came Naraka Chathurdashi as a celebration of the death of the evil king.