Bali Pratipada - Worshipping King Bali
Bali Pratipada, also known as Bali Puja, is celebrated on the third day of the five day long Diwali festival. It is celebrated in the honor of King Bali who is believed to have returned on earth on this very day. It is celebrated on the first day of the Kartik month, which corresponds with October-November in Gregorian calendar. It is also the first day of the bright lunar fortnight of the same month.
According to a legend, there was a great King Bali who was a staunch devotee of Vishnu. He was considered invincible. He was a just king and everyone is his kingdom was happy. Though he didn’t believe in harassing and creating havoc, his kinsmen were opposite and he was held responsible for their actions. Looting, creating issues and destroying things belonging to Gods and sages were a part of their daily routine. The Gods were fed up with such degrading behaviour. All the Gods were also feeling threatened of the increasing popularity of Bali.They were jealous of his supremacy and they started strategizing to get rid of this great king and thus they asked VishnuVishnu
Vishnu is one of the Supreme Gods of Hindus and is a part of Hindu Trinity,.. for his help
Vishnu then took form of a dwarf and his incarnation came to be known as Vamana. Bali was a man of his words and Vishnu was very well aware of that. He used this quality of Bali against him and manipulated him. He knew Bali would never say no to a Brahmin The conventional Hindu caste system divided society into four sects and Brahmin was known as the learned class who gained the knowledge of sacred texts written on Hinduismas he was very charitable and generous. He always helped people and one day after performing his morning prayers, as soon as he got ready to grant boons to Brahmins, It is one of the caste of Hindus. They are known for their knowledge of ancient, sacred scriptures VamanaVamana
In VAMANA Avatar, Vishnu incarnates himself as a dwarf priest... stood right in front of him. He presented his desire of obtaining as much land as his three steps could cover. Mahabali, at first, found this desire a little strange but later agreed. Even though a legal advisor of his warned Mahabali that the dwarf was not an ordinary person but Bali didn’t want to commit the sin of taking back his words and denying the rights of a poor Brahmin.
As soon the promise was made, the dwarf transformed into a huge being. With the first step he covered the whole of the earth and with another the complete sky. He then asked Bali where should he place his third step and Bali gladly offered his head to him.
Vishnu sent Bali to the nether world but also gave him a boon or a right to come back on the earth once in a year to be with his subjects. On Bali Pratipada, his subjects wait for his arrival and then welcome him in a grand manner. People worship him, light lamps in his honor and burst crackers to show their happiness.
After getting up early in the morning, people take ritualistic oil bath in which they rub oil on their body and then wash it off with the help of a scented soap. They wash their hair with shikakai. It is believed that the bath helps in washing off all the selfish desires. They then decorate their houses and draw rangoli with the help of rice powder. They then make seven small forts with the help of cow dung or clay and worship it as a form of Bali. Passages and the entrances of the house are lighted with lamps. This ritual is majorly celebrated in South Indian states.
In Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, people also worship cows and their cowshed is cleaned and sterilized. A triangular shaped image of Bali is made with the help of cow-dug. People then place it on a wooden plank, which is further decorated with marigold flowers and various colorful designs are made on the same. In North India, people prefer playing a game of dice and enjoying the festive mood.
Bali was a benevolent king and kept his subjects happy. People do the same on this day. They exchange gifts and try to bring smile on each other’s face.