Day 2 of Diwali: What is Kali Chaudas?
The second day of Diwali’s 5-day celebration is best known as Kali Chaudas. The literal breakdown of these words in Sanskrit means “eternal darkness” (Kali) and “fourteenth” (Chaudas). Celebrated on the 14th day of the lunar calendar, people tend to celebrate this day to worship Mahakali.
Century-old tales discern that on this day, Kali (Goddess of Shakti or Strength) killed the demon Narakasura. It signifies the victory of good over evil, light over dark and to abolish laziness and evil in our own lives.
Since the day is celebrated exactly one day before Diwali, everyone popularly calls it “Choti Diwali” or “Small Diwali”.
There is an abundance of rituals across pan-India for this day. Below, we highlight the most commonly known customs and practices.
- Some will perform prayers with oil, flowers, and sandalwood and offer coconuts to Lord Hanuman.
- In other parts of India, Kali Chaudas coincide with the commencement of the harvest festival. Many will cook delicacies like Poha or sesame seed sweets. This ritual is prevalent in rural and urban areas of Western India.
- In Hindu mythology, some tales discuss that Lord Krishna decapitates the demon Narakasura. Many people flock to temples to give their offerings to Krishna and ask for blessing.
- In many states, people wake up early and wash themselves thoroughly. Men will rub themselves with oils and sandalwood before bathing. After the shower, they apply kajal under their eyes to ward off “kali nazar” (evil eye). Followed by a large breakfast, everyone with gather with family and friends. Like all the days of Diwali, this is another day of togetherness. Evenings fill up with joy, special cusines and loads of fireworks.
- Moreover, some people will burn effigies of Narakasura in early dawn mornings.
- Finally, in the state of West Bengal, the day before Kali Chaudas they will perform Bhoot Chaturdashi. During this time, the veil between the two worlds is thin. Evidently, on the eve of this dark night the souls of the deceased come down to earth to visit their dear ones. It is also believed that the 14 forefathers of a family visit their living relatives and so 14 lamps are placed all around the house, to guide them homewards and especially to chase away the evil ones.
Metaphorically, all negativities and malicious energies should burn on this day. This helps make room for positivity, generosity, and kind-heartedness.