Chhath is among the biggest Indian festivals, especially in Bihar. It is celebrated also in states like Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh joyfully. In this festival, devotees worship and thank the Sun God for the four days and they also keep fast. The festival is observed two times a year – one is during winters and second is during summer season. Chaiti Chhath falls in the beginning of summer and Kartik Chhath falls between October and November. Read on to know more about Chhath Puja.
- Chhath Puja is observed as a thanksgiving to Sun, the Hindu God.
- The people who take fast during the four days of Chhath puja are known as Vrati.
- In Chhath Puja, devotees pray at the riverbank during sunset and sunrise. The solar energy, scientifically, has the lowest level of UV radiations during the evening and the morning. So, it is beneficial for human body.
- On Day 1, devotees take a dip in holy Ganges or sprinkle the holy water of Ganges and worship the Sun god to start the process of Nahai Khai. Thereafter, they prepare pumpkin curry and rice (Kaddu-Bhaat) with Chana Daal and serve.
- On first day, the devotees don’t eat anything, apart from their meals in the morning, until the evening of next day (Kharna) where they eat chappatis, Kheer, and fruits. Lohand is the second day.
- The third day is known as Sandhya Argha or Pehla Argha. The devotees who observe fast completely avoid eating anything during the day. They offer worship to the sinking sun and the Argha in the evening.
- The last day is known as Suryoday Argua or Doosra Argha. Devotees offer argha to the sun and worship him early in the morning and break the fast by eating their Chhath Prasad like sweets, kheer, fruits and thekua.
- Some of the traditional Chhath meals and Chhath Prasad are prepared with wheat, rice, dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts, coconut, dollops of ghee and jaggery.
- The Chhath Prasad and the meals are strictly prepared without using salt, garlic and onion. Rock salt is used instead of common salt during Chhath.
- The festival of Chhath also symbolizes the celebration of latest harvest. The devotees offer food preparation made with new harvest and fruits to the Suryadeva.
Chhath Puja – The Cultural Significance
During the periods of sunrise and sunset, Chhath puja enjoys a great significance. The sunset and sunrise are the most important periods because human body gets the solar energy safely without any damage. Hence, there is a myth about offering Bihaniya Arghya and Sanjhiya Arghya on the festival. The rituals provide mental clarity, detoxify the mind and body, reduce the frequency of anger, and enhance immunity and energy level, and reducing lots of negative emotions like jealousy. Devotees thank Lord Sun for supporting the lives on earth and they get blessings from him. According to the popular belief, following the processes are helpful to slow down the process of aging. Some of the rituals and beliefs make this festival more significant for the Hindus.