The day before main Diwali is celebrated as 'Choti Diwali' or 'Small Diwali' or 'Naraka Chaturdashi'. People celebrate this day with fewer lights and fewer crackers.
The celebration of Choti Diwali
The women decorate their house with beautiful rangolis in
the morning after choti diwali. Tiny footprints which symbolizes, as
the footprints of Lakshmi, made out of rice paste are a special
feature of the rangolis made for Diwali. In the evening Lakshmi Puja
is done with Arati and Bhajans. After the puja, the diyas
are placed in and around the house: in the doorway, near the Tulasi
The origin of Choti Diwali
This day is also known as "Bali Pratipada". The
word "Pratiprada" literally means "below the
opponent's foot". According to the myth Bali was an immensely
powerful king. When God felt that King Bali was becoming too
powerful, Vishnu, disguised as a sage of diminutive proportions,
appeared in his court. Bali offered to fulfill any of the sage's
wishes. The sage asked for all the land he could cover in 3 paces.
King Bali agreed immediately. Vishu then assumed a gigantic form and
claimed the world (Mrityuloka), and the heavens (Swargloka) in two
paces. To keep his foot down the 3rd time, he asked for King Bali's
head. Bali agreed. Thus, the reign of Bali was overthrown.
Narakasur's mother Bhudevi declared that his death should not be a
day of mourning but an occasion to celebrate and rejoice. Since
then, Deepavali is being celebrated by people every year with joyous
with lots of fun.
This day is celebrated in South India by some different rituals.
People wake up before sunrise prepare a paste by mixing Kumkum
in oil, symbolizing blood and after breaking a bitter fruit that
represents the head of the demon King that was smashed by Krishna,
apply that mixture on their foreheads. Then they have an oil bath
using sandalwood paste.
In Maharashtra also, traditional early baths with oil and "Uptan"
(paste) of gram flour and fragrant powders are a `must'. Afterward
steamed vermicelli with milk and sugar or puffed rice with curd is
This day is also known as Balipratipada or Small Diwali.