Naraka Chaturdashi is considered little Diwali in the North and big Diwali in the South. This day is also considered as Roop Chaturdashi, by the North Indians. There is a myth that the water infused with rose water, rose petals, sandalwood powder, turmeric powder and a pinch of sea salt and kept the previous day (Triyodashi) to bathe on Chaturdashi gives beauty. That is why the day is also called Roop Chaturdashi.
In the South, we celebrate the Triyodashi as Neer Tumbo Habba. We wash the vessel in which the bathing water is heated and decorated with limestone paste for 2-3 inches all around. Then, spots of kum kum and turmeric are applied to this application. A white cotton thread, dipped in turmeric paste and a turmeric stick tied to it, is tied all around the vessel. Pooja is performed of the water inside this vessel with turmeric powder, sandalwood powder, rose petals, jasmine petals and any other fragrant flowers. Inviting the different rivers and oceans to it, the vessel is covered and placed on the stove. The next day this water is heated and used for bathing.
Early on Naraka Chaturdashi morning, long hase rangoli is prepared in the main hall of the house. On that, a small wooden stool (mane) is placed or carpet is spread. On this, all the family members are made to sit by the eldest lady member of the house. She has sesame oil infused with very few peppercorns and cumin seeds, ready. The lady sings auspicious songs with blessings for all. She also uses a fragrant flower to dip into the oil thrice and apply thrice on everybody’s hair as Enne Shastra. Then, 2 ladies will perform aarti to everybody, who is sitting. All of them will get the new clothes that have been bought for them. Everybody bathes with some oil application and wear the new clothes. Post that, they take the blessings of the elders and pray in front of the idols at home.
Lord Krishna should be worshiped at that time because it is the time of the year when He had killed Demon Narakasura. The demon had asked the boon from the Lord that people should celebrate his death with oil bath, new clothes, bursting of crackers and eating sweets. The celebrations should include at least five oil lamps in different places inside and outside the home. Just-married couples celebrate their first Diwali together at the bride’s parents’ home very grandly.
There is a story about Diwali prevalent in North India. I will share that story in my next post.
To be continued…