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Every festival in India has an interesting story behind it. These stories make the festivals all the more interesting and significant. Chhath is one such festival which has an interesting legend behind it. This year, in 2019, the Chhath puja will begin from 31 October and continue till 3 November.
Chhath, is a primitive Hindu festival celebrated in India dedicated to the Sun. Since the Sun is considered the God of energy and life force, He is worshipped during the festival of Chhath to promote prosperity, well-being and progress.
The word 'Chhath' literally means six in Hindi. Chhath is celebrated on the sixth day of the Kartik month according to the Hindu calendar. Hence, the festival is termed as Chhath.
There are a number of stories related to Chhath and all of them are equally intriguing. Take a look at a few prominent stories of Chhath.
The first story of Chhath is related to the Chhathi Ma or the Goddess of Chhath. According to the Markandeya Purana, the origin of life began from a female cell, known as Prakriti (Nature). She divided Herself into six parts and Her sixth part is considered to be the form of a mother who protects children from all ills. On the sixth day of the Kartik month, this sixth form of the Mother Nature is worshipped as Chhathi Ma. Popularly, this sixth form is known as Devi Katyayani who is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri.
Another story related to Chhath is as follows. Once there was a king name Priyavrat who was childless. Rishi Kashyap advised the king to perform the Putryeshti Yagya in order to beget a son. The king followed the advice of the Rishi and a son was born to him. However, the son was stillborn. At that moment, a divine Goddess descended and touched the head of the stillborn child. The child came back to life. She declared that She was the Sasthi Devi and had to be worshipped for the welfare of children. Since then the festival of Chhath became popular.
It is also believed that the festival of Chhath was started by the Mahabharata hero Karna, who was the son of Kunti and Surya (Sun God). Since Karna was the offspring of the Sun God, he performed the puja during this time. Since then, Chhath is celebrated. Another deity worshipped on Chhath is known as the 'Chhathi Maiya' who is actually Usha, the divine consort of the Sun God. 'Usha' refers to the first light of the day which is said to invoke our divine inner consciousness.
So, She is worshipped to invoke our divine consciousness and overcome all the adversities that we are likely to face.