What is Bhoot Chaturdashi? Why Do Bengalis Celebrate This On The Eve Of Kali Puja?

by Ankita Mazumdar
What is Bhoot Chaturdashi? Why Do Bengalis Celebrate This On The Eve Of Kali Puja?

We are sure some of you believe in ghosts and the afterlife very deeply while some of them shun the entire existence of both. Well, we are here to fuel some informational stuff for the previous category and might scare away the latter ones. Bengalis have a tradition where they welcome dearly departed forefathers into their homes but also ward off the unholy spirits that may tag along. This is observed a day before Diwali and is known as Bhoot Chaturdashi. Do you know how they ward off the evil ones and invite their ancestors? Don’t ask your Bengali friend, just scroll on.

What is Bhoot Chaturdashi?


  • Bengalis celebrate Kali Puja on Amavasaya or no-moon day, which is also the day for Diwali. 
  • Bhoot Chaturdashi falls on the day just before Kali Puja. It falls on the 14th day of Krishna Paksha in the Kartik month in Bengali calendar. So, technically it is the day of Choti Diwalli.
  • The word ‘Bhoot’ means ghost in Bengali. Yes, you connected the dots correctly indeed. Bhoot Chaturdashi is celebrated to ward off all evil energies and spirits.

Also Read: Inspired By Satyajit Ray’s Films, Kolkata’s Loved Bhooter Raja Dilo Bor Opens Outlet In Newtown

Bengalis Celebrate Bhoot Chaturdashi Because…

  • As per Bengali folklore, it is the night when the portals between the living and dead world open up. The dead might visit the living side to have some fun, maybe. What in the Marvel Studios is this?
  • To protect the living world, people lit up 14 diyas or earthen lamps to keep away from evil or unholy spirits. Do not worry, these diyas protect the house from evil energies.
  • These diyas and the light they illuminate also serve as a guide for the family’s departed souls to return to their homes for a day, just on Bhoot Chaturdashi.
  • On the other hand, some believe that these diyas are lit for Lord Yama, the god of death.

Also Read: Why Is Kali Puja Celebrated?

These Rituals Are Followed By Them

  • Bengalis light up their house with 14 diyas; in Bengali, it is called Choddo Prodeep. They should be placed around the house in such a manner that no corner of the house remains in darkness or unlit.
  • Tradition remains but the mannerism changes as in Bangladesh, they use Jackfruit leaves instead of diyas.
  • They prepare a dish with 14 different saag, that is leafy greens; in Bengali, it is called Choddo Shaak. They have to include this in their daily meals on Bhoot Chaturdashi.
  • The significance of 14 comes into being as the 14 diyas showcasing light to the departed ones are only for the last 14 forefathers.

Looks like we do have something similar to Halloween but not quite. You don’t have to dress up as characters, go trick-or-treat or carve out pumpkins. Just remember to keep your house lit up and don’t stay alone because no one knows what might happen or who might come…

We are just joking around! It is a Bengali tradition taken from their folklore. It is up to you to believe it or not. Though the next day, Bengalis celebrate Kali Maa on a grander level.

Cover Image Credits: D. Sarkar/Flickr

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