Chhath Puja is a festival where people worship the Surya Devta, and his wife, Usha. This festival lasts for four days. This festival is mainly celebrated in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and also in some parts of Nepal. This festival brings happiness and unity as it brings people of all backgrounds together. Let’s learn more about Chhath Puja, its significance, and rituals.
In 2023, Chhath Puja will be celebrated during the month of November, from 17th to 20th. Chhath Puja is celebrated twice a year, once in the month of Chaitra and other one in month of Kartik, based on the Hindu calendar.
Why is Chhath Puja celebrated?
Chhath Puja is a festival where people thank the Surya Devta for his immense power and nature’s gifts. The devotees also ask for good crops and luck. This festival helps the people to purify their minds and bodies from all the negativity. During this festival, people fast and don’t drink water to help purify themselves and bring discipline in their life. Chhath Puja is a time to ask for blessings for family health, happiness, and luck. It is believed to bring good fortune and well-being to families. It’s also a festival of unity and harmony where everyone, no matter their background, comes together to celebrate.
Significance of Chhath Puja
Chhath Puja, a special festival in India, became very popular a long time ago, during medieval times. People celebrated it with a lot of excitement, love, and happiness. During British rule in India, this festival was not given much importance and almost got forgotten by everyone. But later, many groups who care about its culture and society helped bring it back.
Presently, Chhath Puja is one of the big and important festival, especially in Bihar and Jharkhand, where it’s officially celebrated by the state. This festival has been around for a long time and is still celebrated with the same happiness and faith as it was in old times.
Which states celebrates Chhath Puja?
- Bihar – Chhath Puja is a state festival in Bihar. It is celebrated with immense devotion and enthusiasm. In Bihar, especially in places near the Ganga river, people celebrate Chhath Puja with a lot of joy. They sing traditional songs, dance together, and share greetings and gifts with each other.
- Jharkhand – In this state, just like in Bihar, the festival is very important and celebrated with a lot of devotion and enthusiasm. People have a big parade and light lamps along the river banks to mark the festival. Alongside, they sing songs and dance together.
- Uttar Pradesh – In Uttar Pradesh, the festival is mainly celebrated in towns along the Ganga river like Varanasi, Ghazipur, and Ballia. Many people come together during this festival to offer prayers to the Surya Devta. They also sing, dance and share prasad with each other.
- Nepal Terai – In some parts of Nepal, especially in the Terai region, people also celebrate this festival. They join the celebrations in Indian states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. During the festival, people gather by the rivers, pray to the Surya Devta, and enjoy traditional songs and dances.
Rituals of Chhath Puja
Day 1 : Nahay Khay
On this day the people take a holy bath in the river or any other water bodies, and begin their fast for the whole day.
Day 2 : Lohanda and Kharna
On this day, people continue their fast and they prepare for the main ritual of the festival, the offering of arghya to the setting sun. They light lamps along the banks of the river and performs songs and dances. Kheer, banana, and rice, are offered as prasad. After this ritual, the devotees observe a fast for the next 36 hours, where they dont even consume water.
Day 3 : Sandhya Arghya
This is the main day of the festival, where the devotees prepare prasad the whole day. They offer the prasad to Surya Devta in the river banks during the time of sunset. On this day the women wear yellow-colored sarees.
Day 4 : Usha Arghya
This is the last day of the festival, where the devotees break their 36-hour fast. The people gather at the bank of a river and offer prayers to the rising sun. They share prasad with their friends and families.
Chhath Puja Prasad
The prasad of this festival is extremely delicious, made with jaggery, ghee, and atta (wheat flour). These ingredients are highly nutritious and consists a lot of protein.
Many unique dishes and sweets like Thekua and Rasia kheer are also prepared, and then offered to Surya Devta.
Other things that are offered as prasad are dry fruits, coconut, banana, dabh lemon, sugar canes, and special laddoos made of rice.
This festival is celebrated during the mid-November. This festival is dedicated specially to Surya Devta and Goddess Ganga. This ancient Hindu festival is primarily observed in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and some parts of Nepal. It bring unity and happiness among the people.