India is a place of festivals. Every region in India has its own set of festivals which is dedicated to an almighty where they shower with great food and lights.
Chhath Puja is one of the known festivals that can be witnessed in different parts of India. This is a celebration made to workshop the God of Sun or the Suryadev to celebrate the virtues. This is one of the ancient Hindu celebrations which has its origin since the prehistoric Vedic times. Besides, the Suryadevta, Chhathi Maiya who is believed to be his sister is also being worshipped by the people. The sole reason is to show thankfulness to make the earth a place to sustain.
This puja continues for 4 consecutive days and follows different rituals. Some of the common rituals include fasting, standing in front of water for extended hours, and offering to the Sun. The word “Chhath” is actually a mix of two Hindi words `` Chah'' means the six stages and “Hath” signifies Austerity. Therefore, Chhath Puja is the festival where you can find devotees offering prayers to obtain the power of the sun in six stages.
This Puja can be seen after 6days of Diwali. This is a known festival of Bihar. Besides, it is also celebrated in different parts of West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh. The areas get lighted up during this festival.
The rituals of this Puja start by worshipping and then bathing which is again followed by different phases. The devotees need to go through a phase of isolation and abstinence from their families during these four days. Devotees generally preserve their purity during these days.
These four days have different rituals:
- Nahay Khay: This is the ritual where the people worshipping need to take baths in the river especially in the Ganges and carry the water to their home. The women are needed to keep fasting and have meals once a day.
- Lohanda and kharna: This is the second day of the Puja. In this ritual, the women need to take fast to the entire day and end only after the sun goes down. They are required to stay away from water and food for a long 36 hours after they have kheer as a prasad given to them on the second day.
- Sandhya Arghya: On this day, women along with their family prepare prasad and everyone gathers beside the bank of the water body in the evening. At this point, the offerings are being made to the Sun while it is setting. At this point in time, the entire celebration feels like a carnival. People sing folk songs and enjoy in their own way.
- Morning offering (Usha Arghya): This takes place on the last day of this festival. Women along with the devotees need to go to the river before dawn. At this time, they need to worship the Sun and make offerings. On this day, women are allowed to break their fast and only after the festival is said to end. After this, women distribute prasad to people.
As per the Chronicles, North India’s ancient kind invited the Maga Purohots. They were known to be the most proficient in worshipping the Sun God. Since then Chhath Puja started to take its place. As per the ancient belief, Hindus used to celebrate this festival since the Vedic age as these hymns were found in Rigveda.
Mahabharata also shows the reference of Chhath Puja where Draupadi performed the same rituals. As per that, Pandavas and Draupadi were being advised by the great saint Dhaumya to perform this Puja. This helped Drapaudi as it helped in cracking the problem and help the five Pandavas to get their lost realms.
Chhath Puja is something that you can find in every part of India. In 2020, Chaahth Puja will be held on 20th November. So if you are willing to witness the beauty of this Puja, welcome to India. You will realize the purity and joy in the air.