Choti Diwali is celebrated just a day before Diwali. This day is celebrated on a lower scale compared to the main Diwali but the enthusiasm and zeal of the celebration is same. Choti Diwali is also known as or Narak Chaturdashi . The Narak Chaturdashi, falls on the fourteenth day of the Hindi month. Just like Diwali people light diyas on Chhoti Diwali to fill their homes with light and worship Goddess Laxmi.
Choti Diwali Legends
Choti Diwali Legend 1
Choti Diwali is celebrated as a mark of victory of Lord Krishna over Narkasur, ruler of Pragjyotishpur. Narkasurwho defeated Lord Indra and imprisoned in his prison 16,000 daughters of various Gods and Saints. Lord Krishna, after killing Narkasur smeared his forehead with Narkasur's blood and returned home on this day. He was welcomed by a massage using a scented oil and bath so as to cleanse his body from the filth of the battle.
Since then, on Choti diwali day, there has been a tradition of people waking up early in the morning, breaking a bitter fruit and applying "ubtan" (kumkum-oil paste) on their body. Then they take bath. Paste of gram flour, fragrant powders and oil is also used in some states for applying ubtan. The breaking of fruit symbolizes crushing of Narkasur's head and the applying of ubtan represents smearing of blood by Lord Krishna on his forehead.
Choti Diwali Legend 2
Another legend is about King Bali, who was king of the nether world. His power and increasing influence posed a threat to the security of all 'Devas'. So all devas prayed to Lord Vishnu to help them out. To help Devas and to reduce King Bali's powers, Lord Vishnu went to King Bali in the guise of a short-height 'Brahmin', who is known as incarnation of 'Batu Waman'. Lord Vishnu begged King Bali to give him only that much area of land that he could cover with in three steps because King Bali was well known for his philanthropy. King Bali saw just a short-height 'Brahmin' asking for a little piece of land so he proudly granted him his wish.
That very moment that short-height 'Brahmin' disappeared and there was powerful Lord Vishnu in place of him. In his first step, Lord Vishnu covered the heaven and in the second step the earth and asked King Bali where to put his third step. Then King Bali offered his head to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu put his third step on his head and pushed him deep into the underground. But at the same time being impressed by his generosity Lord Vishnu gave King Bali the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps.
Choti Diwali Festival
Diyas and candles are lighted in the evening and crackers burst (shooting fireworks) in order to mark the celebration of Choti Diwali.