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Narak Chaturdashi precedes Lakshmi Pooja of the 5 day Hindu festival of Diwali which falls on Chaturdashi (14th lunar day) of the Krishna Paksha (dark lunar fortnight) in the Vedic calendar month of Kartik (mid-Nov to mid-Dec). According to sacred texts, Krishna and Kali killed the asura (demon) Narakasura on this day. The festival is also referred to as "Kali Chaudas," where Kali means dark (eternal), Chaudas means fourteenth, and this is celebrated on the 14th waxing phase of the Kartik month.
In some areas, Kali Chaudas is attributed to the worship of Mahakali or Shakti. There is a belief that on this day Kali killed the demon Narakasura. Hence, it is also referred to as Naraka Chaturdashi. Kali Chaudas is also observed as a day to abolish laziness and evil, which create mayhem in our life and thus usher in light, happiness, and well-being.
Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil, with Lord Krishna vanquishing the demon Narakasur. According to mythology, demon Narakasur, the son of Mother Earth, ruled several kingdoms brought under his rule by force. With his mighty power, Narakasur began to rule Heaven and Earth. Indra, the king of the Devas (celestial beings), pleaded Lord Vishnu who promised to put an end to his atrocities in his ninth incarnation as Krishna. Subsequently, Lord Vishnu incarnated on earth as Krishna, attacked Narakasur while riding his mount Garuda with his wife Satyabhama, and beheaded him with his Sudarshana Chakra (discus).
Legend also has it that Narkasur is granted a boon by Lord Brahma that he would only die at the hands of a woman. Therefore, in the battle, Lord Krishna's wife Satyabhama beheaded him with Krishna serving as her charioteer.
This is celebrated on the second day of the 5-day festival of Diwali and Pooja is performed with oil, flowers, and sandalwood. Coconuts are offered to Lord Hanuman, and Prasad of sesame seeds, jaggery (cane sugar) and rice flakes (poha) with ghee and sugar are prepared. Many delicacies are specially prepared from pounded and semi-cooked rice, which is taken from the fresh harvest available at that time. On this day, a hair wash and application of kajal in the eyes is believed to keep away the kali nazar (evil eye). The Goddess called Kula Devi (family deity) is worshipped to cast off evil spirits and offerings are also made to propitiate ancestors.
People wake up early and anoint their bodies with oils before bathing. Clean clothes are worn with some donning new apparel and then they proceed to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast with relatives and friends. At dusk, fireworks are set off in an atmosphere of fun and the loud sound of the crackers is thought to ward off evil spirits and celebrate the victory of good over evil. Breaking a bitter fruit on this day symbolizes the defeat of the demon Narakasur and the good prevailing over evil. Oil lamps are also lit in houses during the evening for good luck and prosperity. Some Tamil homes observe a ritual called "nombu" (fast) and celebrate Lakshmi Pooja on this day.
The sacred scriptures prescribe fire ceremony, Abishekam (hydration ceremony), Pooja/Archana (Light and Sound ceremony), Yantra and Mantra (special sounds) as the ways to offer your prayer to the divine. Out of these, fire ceremony is the most evolved spiritual technology on earth to connect with the divine beings. Participate in the remedial services to clear your karma and receive the blessings.