The Story Of Karit- How This Fruit Is Connected To Lord Krishna’s Victory Over Narkasur
Image Credit: Image: Facebook- Rundha Ramesh Raikar

The festive season is here as Diwali is just around and most of us just can’t wait to dig into a bowl full of sweets or savories to ring in the festivities. Isn’t it true? Diwali is about indulgence, we agree. But let’s not forget the traditions, the little rituals behind the festival of lights. The festivities of Deepawali is spread across five-days and each day has its own significance and rituals that are followed in different parts of India differently. The festivities begin with Dhanteras and end with Bhai Dooj.

Dhanteras, which falls two days before Diwali, is derived from the word ‘dhan’ which means wealth and it is considered auspicious to buy gold or silver or new utensils. The second day of Choti Diwali is when a host of unique traditions are followed, especially in the states of Goa and Maharashtra. Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdasi is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Krishna against Narkasur. As per Hindu mythology, Narkasur was the son of earth, who ruled multiple kingdoms but became an evil asur who later tried to rule heaven and earth too. To stop him, Lord Krishna attacks and beheads him with his Sudarshan Chakra. To mark the victory of good over evil, a ritual of breaking a bitter fruit- Karit by foot is observed on this day. Karit is a cucumber-like butter fruit that is mostly visible in parts of Maharashtra and Goa around Diwali, and is called Chirate in Marathi.

In Goa, Diwali is more of a tribute to Lord Krishna’s victory over Narkasur and several customs and traditions depict this. From burning Narkasur on the eve of Diwali to mark the end of evil to rallies displaying elaborate Narkasur effigies for competitions. The tradition of breaking Karit fruit is a unique one. On the morning of Diwali, the local, bitter wild fruit, is broken with the tip of the toe by the men in the family. The juice is tasted by all, before the aarti is performed post which everyone enjoys a round of sweets.  It is said that one must taste something bitter to expect something sweet, and this little ritual is symbolic of the same. It is interesting to see how unique and distinct these traditions are compared to the rituals in other parts of the country. And how one rare wild fruit can mean so much in the celebration of one of the biggest festivals of India.  

Did you know about this wild fruit? Let us know