Chhoti Diwali, also known as Naraka Chaturdashi, is a significant day in the five-day festival of Diwali. Observed a day before Deepawali, it carries various names such as Bhoot Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas, Narak Chaudas, Roop Chaudas, and Naraka Nivaran Chaturdashi. This year, Chhoti Diwali will be celebrated on Sunday, November 12, 2023.
On this auspicious occasion, people begin their day by taking an oil bath and applying a specially prepared herbal paste, called ubtan, to improve their appearance. The evening is devoted to lighting lamps as an offering to Lord Yama, the god of death. The puja muhurat for Chhoti Diwali falls in the morning, from 05:28 to 06:41 AM, while the Deepdan timing for the evening rituals is from 05:29 to 08:07 PM.
The rituals of Chhoti Diwali involve the worship of Lord Krishna, Maa Kali, Yama, and Hanuman. By seeking blessings from these deities, people believe they can rectify past wrongdoings and strive for personal growth. During the puja, oil, flowers, coconut, sandalwood, and prasad, comprising rice flakes, sesame seeds, jaggery, ghee, and sugar, are offered.
The morning ritual of applying oil and ubtan paste is a symbolic act representing the cleansing of impurities. It is also customary to take a bath before dawn, using chirchita plant leaves and observing Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna. These traditions are believed to bestow beauty and longevity while purifying the body and washing away sins.
Devotees specifically worship Yamaraj, the God of Death, on Chhoti Diwali. After a bath, they immerse black sesame seeds in water while reciting mantras to seek his blessings. By following these customs, individuals hope to appease Yamaraj and escape Narak Darshan.
As Chhoti Diwali approaches, take part in these rituals and experience the spiritual significance of Naraka Chaturdashi. May this auspicious day bring you prosperity and happiness.