Chhath Puja is an important festival among the festivals celebrated in Bihar, Jharkhand and Eastern Uttar Pradesh of India. Gradually this festival has become popular all over the world along with the overseas Indians. This festival, which runs from taking bath to offering Arghya to the rising Lord Surya, has a historical significance of its own.
छठ पूजा भारत के बिहार, झारखंड और पूर्वी उत्तर प्रदेश में मनाए जाने वाले त्योहारों में एक महत्वपूर्ण त्योहार है। धीरे-धीरे यह त्यौहार प्रवासी भारतीयों के साथ-साथ पूरी दुनिया में लोकप्रिय हो गया। स्नान करने से लेकर उगते भगवान सूर्य को अर्घ्य देने तक चलने वाले इस पर्व का अपना एक ऐतिहासिक महत्व है।
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Chhath Puja history
The origins of the Chhath celebration are shrouded in mystery.
The story behind Chhat Puja in Purana is about King “Priyavrata”. According to legend, King “Priyavrata” had no sons, so Maharishi Kashyap conducted a yagna for a son and handed Malini, Priyavant’s wife, a kheer created for Yahuti. This resulted in the birth of a son for him. That son, on the other hand, was born dead. Priyavrata took his kid to the graveyard and began sacrificing his life in the separation of sons. Devasena, God’s Manas daughter, came at the same moment. She explained to the king that she is known as the world since she was born in the sixth half of the universe’s primordial existence. She requested that the king do his worship and persuade others to do so as well. King Priyavrata fasted for the goddess Srishti due to his son’s wish, and he was granted with a son.
It is said that this puja was performed on the sixth day of Kartik Shukla and since then this Chhath puja is performed.
Aside from this narrative, there is another one about Ram Sita ji. Ram Sita returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, according to mythology. So, on the advice of the sages, he chose to do Surya Yagya to cleanse himself of the guilt of slaying Ravana. Mudgal Rishi was asked to pray with him. Mother Sita was sanctified by Mudgal Rishi’s sprinkling of Gangajal. On the sixth day of Shukla Paksha in the Kartik month, it was instructed to worship the Sun God. Whose Sita Mata spent six days in Mudgal Rishi’s ashram worshipping the Sun God.
How is Chhath festival celebrated?
Chhath Puja is a four-day festival. It starts on Kartik Shukla Chaturthi and ends on Saptami of Kartik Sukla. During this, the fasting people keep a fast for 36 hours continuously.
Day 1: Chhath Puja Nahay Khay
Nahay Khay is celebrated on the first day of Kartik Shukla Chaturthi. First and foremost, cleaning the house makes it pure. Following that, Chhath followers take a holy bath and begin their fast by eating only vegetarian food. Only after the individual who is fasting has eaten does the rest of the family eat. Food items include pumpkin, lentils, and rice. This lentil is grams in size.
Day 2: Chhath Puja Kharna
Those who fast on Kartik Shukla Panchami eat in the evening after a full day of fasting. It’s known as Kharna. Everyone in the neighborhood is invited to participate in Kharna’s prasad. Along with rice kheer cooked with sugarcane juice as prasad, milk, rice pita, and ghee are used to make roti. There is no salt or sugar in this prasad. During this time, considerable care is devoted to the house’s cleanliness and hygiene.
Day 3: Sandhya Arghya (Worshiping the setting sun)
Kartik Shukla Shashti is converted into Chhath Prasad on the third day. The event is still held on the same day as it was many years ago. The prasad for this festival is prepared at home. Apart from Thekua and Kasaar, the other dishes are made at home by fasting persons and their families, who ensure that everything is neat and clean.
Kasaar is produced using rice flour and jaggery, whereas Thekua is created with jaggery and flour. Aside from that, fruits and vegetables play a significant role in this worship. Bamboo or clay are used to make the utensils during Chhath. All of these items are eco friendly. After all of the preparations and arrangements, Arghya sup is prepared in a bamboo basket in the evening. Along with the individual who is fasting, the family and the rest of the neighbourhood begin their journey to the Ghat to offer Arghya to the Sun. On the banks of a river or pond, all Chhath performers conduct Arghya Daan together.
The Sun is offered milk and water. And prasad-filled sup is used to worship Chhathi Maiya.
Day 4: Subah ka Arghya (Worship of the rising sun)
On the fourth day of Kartik Shukla Saptami, Arghya is presented to the rising sun. Those who observe the fast reassemble in the evening where they were served Arghya. Retrace your steps from the previous evening.
Finally, the fasting folks break their fast by sipping raw milk sherbet or eating prasad.
Who is Chhath Maiya, and why is the caste revered by reciting Chhath Maiya on Surya’s birthday? Chhathi Maiya is also referred to as Usha Devi in the Vedas. Chhathi Maiya is considered to be the Sun God’s sister, according to legend. The Sun God is happy when people worship him and sing his songs, and all of their requests are granted.