With each Usha comes a new sunrise and worship of Sun in the dawn alleviate maladies. May Goddess Usha and Lord Sun bless the life of one and all with affluence and vigor!
Chhath is a primeval festival that is being celebrated in India since centuries. The festival and its celebration are entirely dedicated to Surya Dev (Lord Sun) and Chhati Mata (Goddess Usha, wife of Lord Sun).
Chhat is one of the most ancient Hindu festivals. The festival of Chhath is an annual Hindu Vedic Festival and it has great historical values.
Traditionally this festival occurs twice a year. However, in the contemporary monarchy of India, Chhath is celebrated on the sixth day of the month of Karthika of the Hindu calendar. Chhath Puja typically falls in the month of October or November each year. This festival is also known as Karthika Chhath and it falls accurately on the 6th days following Deepawali.
The festival falls in the summer season as well and itis called Chaiti Chhath. Alongside this, Chhath is also known as Chhathi, Chhath Parv, Chhath Puja, Dala Chhath, Dala Puja, and Surya Shashthi across the country.
The celebration has the name “Chhath” because it occurs on the sixth day of the month of Karthika. This word is an amalgamation of the Nepali and Hindi languages. The festival of Chhath is dedicated to Chhati Mata, wife of Lord Sun.
On this occasion, people come together in large groups and bow to the supreme entity, Lord Sun. Surya is the primary source of energy and warmth for the earth. On Chhath people offer prayers to Surya Dev.
Chhath Puja is the only festival in the Hindu religion that does not involve any worship idol. It is the only Vedic festival of Hindu tradition. The purpose behind the celebration of Chhath puja is to thank Surya Dev for being the primal entity and bestowing health and grace on earth &lives.
Significantly, the festival of Chhath is observed by Indians and Nepalese, Magahi people, Maithili, Awadhi people, and Bhojpuri people. People from the state of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Nepal celebrate Chhath with great zeal.
The origin of Chhath Puja draws roots in the olden day. It is one of the oldest festivals in Indian culture.
People also believe it to be predating ancient Vedic text from Rigveda which mentions the same hymns to worship of Surya Dev. Alongside this, this festival has its mention in the epic of Mahabharata in which Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas is a devotee of Surya Dev and she performs the same rituals to seek his blessings.
Another epic tale comes from Ramayana, the story of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita. The tales mention, both Lord Rama and Goddess Sita worship Surya Dev and observe fast together.
They perform rituals and customs of Chhath Puja to seek Surya Dev’s blessings after they come back home from their 14 years of exile. The Chhath Puja becomes an integral part of Hindu festival since the day Lord Rama and Goddess Sita prays to Lord Sun.
Chhath Puja celebration takes place for over four days. However, one can see the grand preparation and colorful stalls in the market to evaluate its importance among people. The major rituals of Chhath Puja are as follow-
This is the first day of four-day long festivity. It is to take a dip in the holy water. The ritual Nahay means bath and Khay mean eating. On this day, devotees take bath in the holy river and later cook a proper meal on the shore of the river.
The ritual begins with people brushing their teeth with twigs of mango. Following this, people walk to the holy water and take a dip. Folks who live far from the river perform this ritual by filling water inlarge tub and pouring a few drops of holy water from the river Ganga.
Family members prepare the offering for Gods and worship Lord Sun. Devotees observe a fast of 36 hours and eat only after the dawn. This is a “Nirajal” fast and devotees don’t eat and drink water for 36long hours.
On the second, the fasting continues till 36 hours. Later, in the evening devotees worship Chhati Mata and break their fast by eating Prasad (offering). The offering includes delicious Gud Ki Kheer and Puri.
People also distribute offerings among relatives and friends. Also, the consumption of salt is prohibited on this day. Devotees prepare food free of salt, especially for this day.
The third day comes with a unique joy to the devotees. This day begins for the devotees with the preparations of offerings for the evening Puja.
Sandhya means evening and Arghya refers to holy offering to Gods. On this day, the entire household of Vratins (who observe fast) comes to the river bank. The person who observes fast presents offerings to Surya Dev (the setting sun) on the river bank.
On this day, women wear yellow sarees and sindur in the traditional form. Everyone walks to the riverbank carrying the offerings and other worship material and women sing folk devotional songs all the way to the riverbank.
On the fourth day, all the devotees walk to the riverbank for worshipping Surya Dev early in the morning. The Puja takes place before sunrise to present offerings to the rising sun.
This is the final and concluding of four-day long Chhath Puja. It is also known to people as Paran day. At the end of the Puja, people distribute offerings to each other and wish them Chhath Puja and pray for each other’s wellness.
Chhath Puja is also eco-friendly worship. It doesn’t-involve worshiping idols or the immersion of idols. However, delicious food is a vital part of every Hindu festival. Here are the major sweets, drinks, and snacks that devotees prepare on the occasion of Chhath.
Sweets- Thekua, Gud Ki Kheer, Rasiyaw or Rasia and Kasar.
Snacks- Green Chana Masala and Puri.
The celebration of Chhath Puja occurs on a grand scale outside of India. It is a Hindu cultural activity in which people from numerous other religions take participation with zest. Countries like Jamaica, Mauritius, Fiji, Thailand, and Guyana also celebrate Chhath Puja with full preparations and festivity.
There are many stories back in traditional times for the origin of Chhath Puja. Regardless of considering the origin and history, people from several regions celebrate Chhath Puja with great enthusiasm. It is one such Hindu festival that has a strong belief in people.
The festival of Chhath Puja 2019 falls on Friday, 20th November.
Chhath Puja Next Four Years-
These were major information about the festival of Chhath. Also, you may like to read about Miss World 2019 Competition.