- This time Chhath Puja is starting with Amrit Yoga and Ravi Yoga.
- Chhath Puja begins with the four-day Nahay Khay.
- During this festival, devotees observe fast without water for 36 hours.
Brief overview of Chhath Puja
Chhath Puja is called a great festival. It is completely dedicated to nature. People celebrate this festival with great faith. Preparations for Chhath festival start after Diwali.
During this festival, devotees observe fast without water for 36 hours. Such a long fast is not observed in any other festival. Chhath Puja begins with the four-day Nahay Khay. Shashthi Mata and Sun God are worshiped in Chhath Puja. This festival is also known as Surya Shashthi.
Personal connection: Why Chhath Puja is special
Chhath Puja celebrations in different states
Chhath has special significance in Uttar Pradesh and especially Bihar. Chhath is not just a festival, but a great festival, which lasts for four days. It starts with bathing and eating, and ends by offering Arghya to the setting and rising sun.
This festival is celebrated twice a year. First time in Chaitra and second time in Kartik. The Chhath festival celebrated on Chaitra Shukla Paksha Shashthi is called ‘Chaiti Chhath’ and the festival celebrated on Kartik Shukla Paksha Shashthi is called ‘Kartiki Chhath’.
This festival is celebrated for family happiness, prosperity and attainment of desired results. It also has a distinct historical importance.
When and how will Chhath Puja be celebrated 2023
Chhath Puja is celebrated every year on Shashthi Tithi of Shukla Paksha of Kartik month. This time Chhath Puja is starting on 17th November with Amrit Yoga and Ravi Yoga.
During Chhath Puja, Lord Surya is worshiped on the banks of the river. Chhath Puja is done for the attainment of a child or for the happy life of the child.
This year there will be a special coincidence on Chhath Puja. Sunday is considered the day of Lord Surya and the first Arghya is falling on Sunday, which will be very auspicious.
The role of fasting and its spiritual significance
The four-day Chhath Puja festival begins with Nahay Khay. This year it will fall on 17th November. From this day itself purity will be taken care of in the house. Consumption of garlic and onion is prohibited. On the day of Nahay Khay, all the family members including the fasting person consume pumpkin, gram dal, radish, rice etc.
Kharna will be celebrated on 18th November. On this day, prasad of jaggery and kheer is prepared and eaten. After consuming this Prasad, the devotee observes a waterless fast for 36 hours. Earthen stove and mango wood are used to make this prasad.
Symbolism behind each ritual
Arghya will be offered to the setting sun on 19th November, which is also called Sandhya Arghya. Arghya will be offered to the rising sun on the fourth day i.e. 20th November.
During this time, the fasting person prays to the Sun God for happiness and peace. Parana takes place after the morning Arghya. With this this festival will end.
The main offerings of Chhath Puja are banana and coconut. The Mahaprasad of this festival is called Thekuva. This Thekuva is made from flour, jaggery and pure ghee, which is quite famous.
Traditional songs and music associated with the festival
Cultural and historical context
Mother Sita also worshiped Sun God
There are many stories prevalent regarding how the tradition of Chhath Puja started. According to a belief, when Ram and Sita returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, they decided to perform Rajasurya Yagya on the orders of sages to absolve themselves of the sin of killing Ravana.
He invited Mugdal Rishi for the puja. Mugdal Rishi purified Mother Sita by sprinkling Ganga water and ordered to worship Sun God on the sixth day of Shukla Paksha of Kartik month. Due to this, Sita stayed in the ashram of Mugdal Rishi and worshiped Lord Surya for six days. On Saptami, at the time of sunrise, the rituals were again performed and blessings were obtained from the Sun God.
Chhath festival started from Mahabharata period
According to Hindu belief, the story is popular that Chhath festival started from the Mahabharata period. This festival was first started by Suryaputra Karna by worshiping the Sun.
It is said that Karna was a great devotee of Lord Surya and he used to stand in water for hours every day and offer Arghya to him. It was only by the grace of Surya that he became a great warrior. Even today the same tradition of donating Arghya during Chhath is prevalent.
Chhath fast was also observed for Draupadi
There is another story about Chhath festival. According to this legend, when the Pandavas lost the entire kingdom in gambling, Draupadi observed Chhath fast. With this fast their wish was fulfilled and the Pandavas got everything back.
According to folk tradition, Surya Dev and Chhathi Maiya have a brother-sister relationship. Therefore, worshiping the Sun on the occasion of Chhath was considered fruitful.
What is the mythological significance of Chhath?
Apart from these stories, another legend is also popular. According to the Puranas, a king named Priyavrata had no children. For this he made every effort, but to no avail. Then Maharishi Kashyap advised the king to perform Putrayeshti Yagya to get a child. After the yagya, the queen gave birth to a son, but he was born dead.
The news of the king’s dead child spread mourning throughout the city. It is said that when the king was preparing to bury the dead child, a luminous plane descended from the sky to the earth.
The goddess sitting in it said, ‘I am Shashthi Devi and the protector of all the children of the world.’ Saying this, the goddess touched the dead body of the child, due to which he came alive. After this the king announced to celebrate this festival in his kingdom.