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Chhath Puja also known as Chhath Parva, Surya Shashthi and Dala Chhath is one of the most important festivals of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and is also celebrated in some parts of Nepal. It is also celebrated by natives of Bihar and Jharkhand living in other parts of India. This year, the four days festival will be celebrated from 31 October 2019 to 3 November, 2019.
Those who don't know much about Chhath Puja you can scroll down know about Chhath Puja and its significance in detail.
What Is Chhath Puja
Celebrated across India, especially in northern states, Chhath Puja is known to be a festival that demands purity, patience, abstinence, fasting and perseverance. This festival is dedicated to Surya (Sun) and his consort Usha (Sun Rays during Sunrise).
Devotees during Chhath Puja, thank Surya Dev (Sun God) for blessing the mankind with positive energy, preserving life on earth and for fulfilling their certain wishes. Both men and women observe the fast of Chhath Puja with utmost dedication. Many people observe Chhath after their certain wishes get fulfilled.
Unlike other Hindu festivals such as Diwali and Durga Puja, Chhath is celebrated by observing rigid fasting followed by worshipping Surya Dev on the banks of holy rivers like Ganga, Koshi, Kamla, etc. However, these days people also celebrate the festival at ponds, makeshift water bodies and lakes. It doesn't involve any idol worship.
When Is Chhath Celebrated
Chhath Puja is celebrated two times a year i.e, during the month of Chaitra (March or April) and Kartik (October or November). It is a four-day festival that begins with Nahaye Khaye and ends with Paaran or Doosra Arghya. The festival starts four days after Diwali.
The Rituals Of Chhath Puja
The rituals of Chhath Puja are divided according to the four days. Let us know about each day and the rituals performed on these days.
1. Nahaye khaye: This is the first day of the festival and is known as Nahaya Khaye. That means devotees along with their family members should take bath in the holy river water or in other water bodies. After that, they should pray to Surya Dev and carry the holy water to prepare the prasad (offering). The food that is prepared on this day is known as 'Kaddu Bhaat'. It is cooked in bronze or soil utensils without onion and garlic. Parvaitin (the one who observes the fast during Chhath Puja) takes only one meal on this day.
2. Kharna: Kharna is known as the second day of the Chhath Puja and is also known as Argasan. On this day, Parvaitins keep fast for the whole day and break their fast only after sunset and worshipping Chhathi Maiyaa (Usha, the wife of Surya Dev). On this day, parvaitins along with her family members prepare prasad. This is later eaten by all of them and is also distributed among needy people. It is after the Kharna only, the parvaitins observe their 36 hours fast.
3. Sandhya Arghya: The third day of Chhath Puja is known as the Sandhya Arghya. This is said to be the toughest day of the festival where the devotees do not drink water or eat anything. They prepare the prasad (offering for Surya Dev) on this day and sing folk songs. Before sunset, the devotees take a dip in the water and stand in the water with their waists submerged. They stand for a long time and then offer Arghya (water offering) and other offerings along with fruits to the setting sun.
After the sunset when the sky is dark, people light kosi (mud lamps) surrounded by five sugarcanes as coverings. The five sugarcanes are said to signify the 'Panchtattva' (air, water, land, fire and space). People then sing folk songs and pray to Chhathi Maiyaa.
4. Paaran/ Doosra Arghya: This is known as the fourth day of Chhath Puja. On this day, the devotees along with their family and friends go at the riverbank, ponds, lakes and makeshift water bodies before the sunrise to give Arghya to the rising sun and its rays. Devotees again take a dip in the water right before the sunrise and stand for a long time in the water with their waist submerged. They again give Arghya and other offerings to the sun. People then thank Surya Dev for blessing the earth with life and energy. Also, they pray for seeking protection from Surya Dev.
After this, people seek blessings from the Parvaitins and consume the prasad.
The Significance Of Chhath Puja
Chhath puja has a great significance in the Hindu Culture. The sunrise and sunset are considered to be the most important part of the festival. The devotees worship Surya Dev during sunset and sunrise. The reason for worshipping the setting sun is to show respect towards our ancestors and elders. It is a way to express our gratitude for what they did for us. The reason behind worshipping the rising sun is to welcome a positive change and show love to our younger ones.
It is said that during Chhath Puja, the human body gets solar energy (Vitamin D or sunshine vitamin) much needed for a human body. It is believed by the devotees that during Chhath Puja the sun rays can cure various harmful diseases such as leprosy. For that reason, during this time, the sun rays do not contain the harmful ultra-violet rays.
We hope you have a great time in celebrating Chhath Puja and wish that Surya Dev blesses you with positive energy and heals all your pain.
Happy Chhath Puja!