What is Chhath Puja ?
Chhath is an ancient Hindu festival of India. In the northern Indian part, it is celebrated traditionally. For four days long, people celebrate it with joy. People celebrate it on the dedication to Lord Surya and Chhathi Maiya, who is known as the sister of Surya. Remarkably the people of Bihar, Jharkhand, mark it with a unique tradition. The sun god, who is thought to be the source of powers and Chhatthi Maiya, are two prominent figures of this festival. Devoted people give thanks to the god and goddess for giving them light, energy, and power. Men and women keep fast and offer prayer on these days. It is also the most robust and auspicious ceremony where people have to observe “nirjala fast” without taking water for 36-40 hours.
When is Chhath Puja Celebrated ? ( Chhath Puja Kab Hai )
Chhath puja is celebrated twice in a year, once when its summer season and another in the winter season. Two names come in these seasons, and they are Karthik Chhath and Chaiti Chhath. Every year during October and November, people celebrate Karthik Chhath. According to the Hindu calendar on Kartika Shukla Shashti, which is the six days of the month of Kartika, it is performed. Chaiti Chhath is celebrated during the summer season in the month of Chaitra.
To know when is Chhath Puja this year you can check All Indian Festivals Calendar.
Where is Chatth Puja Celebrated ?
Chaath puja is a traditional Hindu Vedic festival. In Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and the Madesh region of Nepal, it is celebrated. There are some other parts of India, and also some countries celebrate it. They are West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mumbai, South Africa, Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad, Guyana, Malaysia, Indonesia, Macau, United Kingdom, United State, Jamaica, Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Guyana, Caribbean, etc.
Chhath Puja History
Different stories are known that back to the source of Chhath Puja. Though the exact origin of it stands vague and dim, some believe it dates back to Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Please scroll down to know about them.
- Ramayana: One strong story is associated with it, said to be a generation of the Sun god, Lord Rama has an excellent contribution with the induction of Chhath Puja. After returning from the exile, Rama and Sita performed a fast to honour the Sun god. They broke their fast only at the break of dawn next-day. Subsequently, this ritual is involved in the Chhath Puja.
- Mahabharata: There is another mythological story about this festival, Karna the child of Sun god and Kunti is the prominent figure here. People believe the tale about Karna that once he offered his prayer religiously by standing in the water. Then he gave away Prasad among the poor people. Draupadi and the Pandavas are to mythological figures who also observed a similar fast to get back their kingdom.
Reason for Naming The Festival Chhath
Six is the meaning of Chhath in Nepal or Hindi language though this festival is observed on the sixth day of the month of Karthika, so from this, the name has come.
How is Chhath Puja Celebrated ?
Rituals of Chhath Puja
Commonly Chhath Puja is known as the name of Chhathi Maiya(Usha), who is the sister of the sun god. There are different rituals, which are very harsh as the comparison of other Hindu festivals. Strick fasting(even nobody can drink water during the process of fasting), taking dips in the river are two prominent rituals of them. People have to stand and offer prayers in the water to face the Sun long times and offer Prashad to the Sun at the sunrise and sunset. They observe four-day long activities through the procession, and here they are.
- Day one (Nahay Khay): On the first day, people can not eat anything without taking a dip in the holy river. After taking a bath, they prepare delicious items for themselves. By using mud or bronze utensils, they cook Kaddu Bhaat along with channa dal. Women keep fast, and they can eat only one meal on this day.
- Day two (Lohanda and Kharna): On the second day, the devotees also observe a fast until the Kharna puja ends. Then kheer (which is made with a combination of jaggery-laden) and puris are offered to the god and goddess. At last, people who observed fast break their fasting by eating Prasad. In the next step, they have to fast for 36 hours without taking a drop of water.
- Day three (Sandhya Arghya): On the third day, they prepare Prasad at home for the evening Puja. Then the whole family goes to the river for offering to the setting Sun. Women in this day wear turmeric yellow colour sarees. There is an arrangement of folk songs in the evening.
- Day four ( Usha Arghya): It is the day in which the devotees go to the riverbank before the sunrise and make an offering to the rising Sun. Then the Vratins break their 36 hours fast, and their relatives come to their house for sharing Prasad.
Traditionally the Chaath Prasad is the prominent food of the festival. People prepare it by mixing with rice, dry fruits, wheat, nuts, fresh fruits, coconut, jaggery, and ghee. This unique food is made without using garlic, onion, and salt. Thekua is another food which also known as khajuria or thikari. It is also one kind of sweet Chhath Prasad. Poori is one kind of Chaath meal. It is prepared by adding different vegetables like bottle gourd sabzi and Hara chana. Rasiyaw, famous rice made kheer which is very popular on the Puja.
Chhath Puja is one of the most ancient and traditional festivals of India. Through these four-days, long festival devotees act a lot of different occurrences. For honouring Sun god and Chhathi Maiya, people observe fast for a long time without drinking water. This Puja enriches the tradition of India to the world.