Narak Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali in 2023

In the midst of the radiant Diwali season, there exists a lesser-known yet equally significant celebration that adds a unique charm to the Festival of Lights. It is Choti Diwali, a day that carries its own distinct allure and rituals, weaving another layer of cultural richness into the tapestry of Diwali festivities.

Choti Diwali, also known as Narak Chaturdashi or Roop Chaudas, falls on the fourteenth day of the lunar fortnight in the month of Kartika, just one day before the grandeur of Diwali. While it may not be as widely recognized as its more illustrious sibling, it holds a special place in the hearts of those who cherish the traditions of Diwali.

In this blog, we embark on a journey to explore the unique significance, historical roots, and vibrant traditions of Choti Diwali. We’ll uncover the fascinating mythological stories that surround this day, delve into the rituals that make it special, and delve into the regional variations and cultural nuances that shape its celebration.

So, as the warm glow of diyas and the fragrance of sweets fill the air, join us in unraveling the charm of Choti Diwali—a day that prepares us, both spiritually and symbolically, for the grandeur of Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Let’s embark on this illuminating journey through the essence of Choti Diwali and discover the hidden treasures it holds.

Date and Timing

In the year 2023, Narak Chaturdashi falls on 12 November, Sunday. This day is called by several other names such as Kali Chaudas, Roop Chaudas, Bhoot Chaturdashi, and Naraka Nivaran Chaturdashi.

Historical and Mythological Background

The historical and mythological background of Choti Diwali, also known as Narak Chaturdashi or Roop Chaudas, is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology and tradition. It is a day that holds significance in the lead-up to the grand celebration of Diwali. Here is an exploration of its historical and mythological background:

Mythological Significance – The Slaying of Narakasura:

Choti Diwali is primarily associated with the legend of the demon king Narakasura. According to Hindu mythology, Narakasura was a powerful and tyrannical demon who had acquired immense power and wreaked havoc on both the heavens and Earth.

Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, took it upon himself to defeat Narakasura and free the world from his oppression. Krishna battled the demon and ultimately slew him on the day of Choti Diwali.

Narakasura’s death marked the liberation of thousands of imprisoned princesses and the recovery of stolen treasures, symbolizing the victory of righteousness over evil.

Historical Roots – Harvest Festival:

Choti Diwali is also linked to the harvest season. In ancient times, it marked the completion of the harvest and the beginning of preparations for the Diwali festival, which is celebrated with great fervor in India.

Farmers would clean their homes, light oil lamps, and offer prayers for a bountiful harvest in the coming year.

Religious Observance:

Choti Diwali is observed with devotion and reverence. On this day, many Hindus take an oil bath before sunrise, symbolic of cleansing the body and soul.

Temples are adorned with lamps, and special prayers and pujas are conducted to seek blessings for prosperity and well-being.

Krishna’s Triumph and Liberation:

Choti Diwali celebrates Lord Krishna’s valor in defeating Narakasura and liberating the world from his tyranny.

It signifies the triumph of dharma (righteousness) and the defeat of adharma (unrighteousness).

Preparation for Diwali:

Choti Diwali acts as a precursor to the grand Diwali celebration. It is a day when families and individuals prepare for the main Diwali festivities by cleaning and decorating their homes.

Variations Across Regions:

Choti Diwali is celebrated differently in various regions of India. For example, in South India, it is known as Naraka Chaturdashi, and in some parts of North India, it is called Roop Chaudas.

Cultural Significance:

Choti Diwali emphasizes the importance of righteousness, the victory of good over evil, and the cleansing of one’s soul. It sets the spiritual and cultural tone for the grandeur of Diwali.

In summary, Choti Diwali is a day of historical significance, rooted in Hindu mythology and celebrated with religious fervor. It commemorates the triumph of good over evil through the slaying of the demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna. This day also marks the beginning of the Diwali festivities, as people prepare their homes and hearts to welcome the grandeur of Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

Significance and Traditions

Narak Chaturdashi, also known as Choti Diwali or Roop Chaudas, holds profound significance in Hindu culture and is observed with a variety of traditional rituals and customs. Let’s delve into the significance and traditions associated with Narak Chaturdashi:

1. Significance of Narak Chaturdashi:

Triumph of Light over Darkness: Narak Chaturdashi marks the symbolic victory of light over darkness, righteousness over evil. It commemorates the defeat of the demon king Narakasura by Lord Krishna, signifying the triumph of good over malevolence.

Spiritual Cleansing: The day is considered auspicious for spiritual cleansing and purification. Taking an oil bath before sunrise is a common practice, symbolizing the purification of the body and soul.

2. Rituals and Customs:

Abhyang Snan (Oil Bath): Devotees wake up before dawn and take an oil bath. This tradition is rooted in the belief that the oil bath cleanses the body, relieves tiredness, and brings good health. The bath is taken with sesame oil, which is believed to have therapeutic properties.

Offerings to the Divine: Special prayers and pujas are offered to deities, especially Lord Krishna and Goddess Kali, seeking their blessings for health, prosperity, and protection from evil forces.

Lighting Oil Lamps: Homes and temples are illuminated with oil lamps or diyas to symbolize the victory of light over darkness and to welcome divine blessings.

Preparation of Sweets: Preparations for Diwali continue, with families making an array of sweets and snacks to share with guests and loved ones. Popular treats include chakli, sev, and anarsa.

Cleaning and Decorating: Homes are cleaned and adorned with colorful rangoli patterns at the entrance. The cleaning ritual represents the removal of negativity and the welcoming of positivity into one’s life.

Exchanging Gifts: As with Diwali, Narak Chaturdashi is also a time for exchanging gifts and tokens of love with friends and family.

3. Regional Variations:

Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated with slight regional variations across India. For example, in Maharashtra, people practice the tradition of breaking bitter fruit (kareet) on this day, symbolizing the victory of good over evil.

In some regions, this day is associated with honoring ancestors through rituals and offerings.

4. Spiritual Significance:

Beyond its cultural and historical significance, Narak Chaturdashi carries spiritual importance. It is a day for self-reflection, purification, and seeking divine blessings for inner and outer well-being.

5. Preparation for Diwali:

Narak Chaturdashi sets the stage for the grand Diwali celebration, which follows the next day. It is a day of readiness, both spiritually and materially, as people prepare their homes, outfits, and gifts for the main Diwali festivities.

In essence, Narak Chaturdashi embodies the core Diwali values of light, goodness, and spiritual cleansing. It serves as a bridge between the triumph of righteousness over evil and the joyful celebrations of Diwali, making it a significant and spiritually enriching day in the Diwali season.

Observance in Different Regions

The observance of Narak Chaturdashi, also known as Choti Diwali or Roop Chaudas, varies in different regions of India. While the core significance of the day remains the same, regional traditions and customs add unique flavors to the celebrations. Let’s explore how Narak Chaturdashi is observed in various parts of the country:

1. North India:

In North India, Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated with great enthusiasm. People wake up early to take oil baths, followed by prayers and pujas dedicated to Lord Krishna and Goddess Kali. Many communities organize processions and cultural events to depict the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Narakasura. In some regions, effigies representing Narakasura are made and paraded through the streets before being symbolically destroyed, signifying the triumph of good over evil.

2. South India:

In South India, Narak Chaturdashi is known as Naraka Chaturdashi. The day typically begins with an oil bath followed by a visit to the temple. Special rituals and pujas are conducted in temples, and offerings are made to deities. In Tamil Nadu, people celebrate the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura by creating kolams (intricate designs made with rice flour) in front of their homes.

3. Maharashtra:

In Maharashtra, Narak Chaturdashi is observed as ‘Roop Chaudas.’ On this day, an age-old tradition called ‘Narak Chaturdashi Chya Diwalicha Yene’ is practiced. It involves breaking bitter fruit (usually kareet) by individuals. The act symbolizes the destruction of Narakasura’s arrogance and signifies the victory of good over evil. Homes are cleaned and decorated with rangoli, and oil lamps are lit to welcome prosperity and good fortune.

4. Bengal:

In West Bengal and other parts of Eastern India, Narak Chaturdashi is observed with reverence to Goddess Kali. Temples dedicated to Goddess Kali are adorned with flowers, and special pujas are conducted to seek her blessings. Devotees fast and offer prayers to Goddess Kali for protection from evil forces.

5. Gujarat:

In Gujarat, Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated as ‘Kali Chaudas.’ On this day, people offer prayers to Goddess Kali. An interesting tradition involves applying a mixture of kumkum (vermilion) and oil on the forehead, which is believed to ward off evil. In some regions, people make small footprints with kumkum at the entrance of their homes to symbolize Goddess Kali’s arrival.

6. Punjab:

In Punjab, Narak Chaturdashi is known as ‘Roop Chaudas’ or ‘Chhoti Diwali.’ People light oil lamps and candles, and special prayers are offered to seek divine blessings for health and prosperity. Traditional Punjabi sweets and snacks are prepared and shared with family and friends.

7. Karnataka:

In Karnataka, Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated as ‘Deepavali Bali.’ Oil baths, prayers, and temple visits are common rituals on this day. Special attention is given to lighting lamps and diyas.

While Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated with regional variations, the common thread that unites these observances is the symbolism of triumph over evil, the cleansing of body and soul, and the anticipation of the grand Diwali celebrations that follow. It showcases the rich diversity of traditions within the tapestry of Diwali festivities across India.


In the vibrant tapestry of Diwali celebrations, Narak Chaturdashi, also known as Choti Diwali or Roop Chaudas, emerges as a day of profound significance and diverse traditions. As we conclude our exploration of this lesser-known yet spiritually enriching festival, we find that Narak Chaturdashi beautifully bridges the gap between the triumph of light over darkness and the grandeur of Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

Across the different regions of India, we discover a myriad of customs and rituals that add their unique flavors to the observance of Narak Chaturdashi. From the breaking of bitter fruit in Maharashtra to the worship of Goddess Kali in Bengal, each tradition symbolizes the victory of good over evil, the purification of the soul, and the anticipation of blessings and prosperity.

Narak Chaturdashi serves as a spiritual cleansing—a day to awaken before dawn and take an oil bath, symbolizing the purification of our bodies and the renewal of our souls. It is a time for prayers and pujas, where the warmth of oil lamps and the fragrance of incense fill homes and temples, ushering in divine blessings.

As we prepare for the grand Diwali celebrations that follow, Narak Chaturdashi acts as a prelude, cleansing us both spiritually and materially. It reminds us that the triumph of righteousness over evil is a timeless and universal theme—one that resonates deeply in our hearts and souls.

In essence, Narak Chaturdashi invites us to embrace the light, goodness, and traditions that enrich our lives. It encourages us to seek the divine, purify our hearts, and look forward to the joyous festivities of Diwali with a sense of anticipation and spiritual renewal.

As we bid farewell to Narak Chaturdashi, may its lessons of triumph, purification, and anticipation continue to guide us on our journey toward Diwali, filling our lives with light, love, and prosperity. Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed and joyful Narak Chaturdashi and a radiant Diwali ahead!