Chhath festival is an ancient old festival which is solely dedicated to the God of Sun and Chhathi Maiya. This festival, that begins on November 17th this year, is celebrated by all Hindus and especially North Indians with zeal and enthusiasm. Chhath Puja has greater significance with Hindu people and they celebrate Chhath and offer gratitude to Surya Devta for blessing life on earth and granting wishes. Chhath Puja is observed for four days and includes certain rituals like holy bathing, fasting, offering prayers, etc. According to the Hindu calendar, Chhath is celebrated on the sixth day of the month of Kartik (October). (Read: Chhath Puja 2015 Special: Know Puja Muhurat, Puja Vidhi & auspicious timings to celebrate Chhath Puja)
On the auspicious day of Surya Sashthi, people wake up early, take holy bath in river Ganga and fast for the entire day. The female of the house dips her feet in water and offers prayers to the rising sun which is also called as aragh. Observing fast on this day is not at all an easy task. One has to fast without water for around 36 hours, which is next to impossible. Hats off to all devotees who observe and carry out this fast with full dedication. (Read: Happy Chhath Puja wishes in Hindi: Best Pratihar Sashthi SMS, WhatsApp & Facebook Messages to Wish Happy Chhath Puja 2015)
It is believed that devotees gain lot of energy and positive vibes after performing chhath puja. There are lot of health benefits which includes improvisation of eyesight, skin, immunity system and also improves the performance of WBC (white blood cells). Happy Chhath Puja and may the God of Sun grant every one with happiness, prosperity and well-being.
Mythological story about Chhath Puja
This festival dates back to ancient Purohits who were requested by the Kings to perform traditional puja of Lord Sun. During those days, the Purohits chanted the age-old Rigveda and hymns. Chhath Puja during older times was celebrated by Draupadi and Pandavas from the Mahabharata who regained their lost kingdom. It is also said that the first Chhath Puja was started by Surya Putra Karna, who was a brave warrior and ruled over Anga Desh(Bihar). Another history being that Chhath Puja is the untold story of Lord Rama. Lord Rama and Goddess Sita had fasted and offered puja to the Lord Sun during their coronation after they returned to Ayodhya.
During Chhath Puja Goddess ‘Chhathi Maiya’ is worshipped by devotees. She is also known as Usha which means the first ray of light during the day. According to the myth, Usha and Pratusha were the wives of Lord Sun and both are worshipped along with the Sun. She is said to be the consort of Surya – Sun God. Devotees worship her on the auspicious day of Chhath puja, so that they can overcome their problems and can seek divine blessings from her. Devotees also believe that worshipping chhathi maiya can help in getting Moksha.
Chhath Puja rituals and traditions
On the day of Chhath Puja, the devotee have to take holy bath which is the most important task for the day. And after the holy bath devotees have to observe fast for four continuous days that to without water. One has to perform this puja with full purity and should sacrifice all luxurious habits. It is believed that the family who performs Chhath Puja once has to continue it for the rest of their lives and should also pass on the rituals to the next generation.
On the first day of Chhath Puja (Nahay khay) devotees should commence with holy bath and the devotee has to bring some amount of water at their home for offering. The surroundings must be clean enough to perform the puja. On the second day (Lohanda and Kharna) devotees observe fast for the entire day and directly break fast in the evening after sunset. The food prepared is then offered in the puja and in the evening again they start fasting and that too, without water for the next 36 hours.
The third day comprises Sandhya and Arghya wherein the females wear sarees of turmeric color and offer arghya on the river bank of Ganga. Further, the event of Kosi is celebrated by lighting lamps or diyas under five sugarcane sticks. This indicates Panchatattva which contain five elements of the human body.The last day of Chhath – Usha Arghya – is where devotees offer Bihaniya Aragh on the river bank of Ganga along with their family. And by the end of the day devotees break their fast by consuming prasad.
On the auspicious occasion of Chhath Puja, people prepare prasad which they offer to Lord Sun. Tempting dishes are prepared on the first day, including kheer, theku, fruits and puris. The food should ideally be cooked without salt, onion and garlic. The person observing the fast has to consume the meal once in a day that too which is cooked using bronze or mango wood utensils. Happy Chhath Puja to everyone out there! Hope God grants the wishes of one and all with well-being, happiness and prosperity.