Narak chaturdashi

What is Narak chaturdashi:

The Second Day of Diwali festival is called Narak Chaturdashi or more popularly as Choti Diwali or Kali Chaudas. Kali means Dark (evil) and Chaudas means Fourteenth. Thus, celebrated on the 14th day of the dark half of Kartik month, Kali Chaudas is the day allotted to the worship of MahaKali or Shakti. This festival is observed to commemorate the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king, Narkasur. Narak Chaturdashi is day to abolish laziness and evil which create hell in our life and shine light on life. This year Narak Chaturdashi falls on 12th November, 2012.

History of Narak chaturdashi:

The story goes that the demon king Narakasur after defeating Lord Indra had snatched away the magnificent earrings of Aditi, the Mother of Goddess and imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of the gods and saints in his harem. On the day previous to Narak chaturdashi, Lord Krishna killed the demon and liberated the imprisoned damsels and also recovered those precious earrings of Aditi.
His destruction made all happy and the women in particular saw his end as a moral victory for them. Also, on this day Hanumanji reached Ayodhya to deliver the long-awaited message of Lord Rama's return.

On Narak chaturdashi:

Kali Chaudas is the day allotted to the worship of Maha-Kali or Shakti also coconuts are offered to Hanumanji. The rituals of Narak chaturdashi is strongly suggestive of the origin of Deepavaali as a harvest festival is performed. On this day delicacies are prepared from pounded semi-cooked rice (called Poha or Pova). This rice is taken from the fresh harvest available at that time. This custom is prevalent both in rural and urban areas especially in Western India.

Celebrations in India:

The day of Narak chaturdashi has great importance for the people in India and Hindus across the world, celebrates this festival with the lots of Zeal & enthusiasm. On this day, a head wash and application of kajal in the eyes is believed to keep away the evil eye. Alternatively, people offer 'Nived' (Food) to MahaKali and their 'Kul Devi', in order to cast off evil spirits.
Some families also offer food to their forefathers on this day. Just like Diwali people light diyas on Choti Diwali to fill their homes with light, worship Goddess Laxmi and offer prayers to Her and they also burst firecrackers.