Chhath Puja – The age old ritual you need to know!
Chhath is an important festival of the Hindu religion, specially of the Bihari community residing all over the country. Chhath Puja is dedicated to the worship of the Sun god and his wife.
Devotees perform the puja to thank the Sun god for supporting life on earth and seek protection his and blessings. This year, Chhath Puja (third day) will be celebrated on November 6.
It is a 3-day long festival. As the ayurvedic customs and medications go, Sun is the healer of many health uncertainties and ensures the longevity, prosperity, progress and well-being of the human race.
Prayers are being offered to the rising and the setting sun and are done by meditating by standing in water for long hours of time
Now, in addition to Bihar, many Indian states like Jharkhand, Bihar, eastern UP, regions of Nepal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh also celebrate the festival with great fervor.
The rituals of the festival are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vrata), standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prashad (prayer offerings) and arghya to the setting and rising sun.
Date of the Festival
Chhath puja is performed on Kartika Shukla Shashthi, which is the sixth day of the month of Kartika (now, November) in the Vikram Samvat.
Karthika month’s Chhath is more ardently followed by people. The four-day festival is celebrated four days after Diwali. This is how the devotees observe the festival.
Who is Chhathi maiya?
The Goddess who is worshiped during the famous Chhath Puja is known as Chhathi Maiya. ‘Chhathi Maiya’ is known as ‘Usha’ in the Vedas. She is believed to be the beloved younger wife of Surya, the sun god. ‘Usha’ and ‘Pratyusha’ are wives of Surya and ‘Aditi’ is his mother.
What are the rituals that are there in Chhath Puja?
Chhath is a festival of bathing and worshipping, that follows a period of abstinence and segregation of the worshiper from the main household for four days. During this period, the worshiper observes purity and sleeps on the floor on a single blanket.
On the first day of Chhath Puja, the devotees take a dip, preferably in the river Kosi river, Karnali and Ganga and carry home the holy water of these historical rivers to prepare the offerings.
Lohanda and Kharna:
On the second day of that Chhath puja, the Vratins observe a fast for the whole day, which finally ends in the evening time, a little late after the sunset.
Sandhya Arghya (Evening Offerings)
This day is spent preparing prashad at home. At the end of the day, the entire clan of vratins gathers near the river bank to make the offerings to the setting sun.
Usha Arghya (Morning Offerings)
This is performed on the final day of Chhath Puja. The devotees, along with family and friends, go to the riverbank before sunrise, in order to make the offerings (Arghya) to the rising sun.
Government staff to get day off on Chhath Puja
KOLKATA: The state government announced an additional holiday on Monday (November 7) on account of Chhath Puja. The notification says ‘November 7’ is a holiday for all state government offices and offices of local bodies along with that of all undertakings, corporations and educational institutes owned by the state.
Video Courtesy - T-Series Bhakti Sagar