One of the most ancient festivals of Hindus belonging to the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh, Chhath Puja is celebrated every year with great enthusiasm. Dedicated to the sun, Chhath Puja is observed over a period of four days that include Nahai-Khay, Kharna, Arghya to the setting sun, Arghya to the rising sun, and Paaran. The preparation of Chhath Puja begins just after the end of Diwali. During the occasion, melodious folk songs can be heard echoing all around.
Notably, some of the Nepalese and Muslims also perform Chhath Puja. On the first day of the festival, the main worshiper called Parvaitin along with other family members eats rice, pulses, and pumpkin after taking bath. The second day is known to be Kharna in which the Parvaitin observes fast for the entire day and makes Kheer and Roti, which are eaten by other members of the family post Puja in the evening. On the third day, the Parvaitin observes fast (she abstains herself from drinking water as well) for the entire day and night. Also, during the sunset, she stands in the holy water for a long period and offers Arghya to the setting sun. The next day, she arrives at the Ghat early morning and offers Arghya to the rising sun.
One of the most eco-friendly Hindu festivals in India, Chhath Puja is compulsory to perform once you have started to perform it. It can only be skipped in case of a death in the family. Also, once you stop performing the Puja, you have to abstain from resuming it again. During the festival, the prasad is one of the main attractions. It basically includes Kheer, Thekua, rice laddu and fruits like sugarcane, sweet lime, and banana. During the festival, people only eat vegetarian food. Also, the food is prepared without garlic and onion. The main emphasis during the Puja is on maintaining the purity of the food.