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Chhath: A Festival Dedicated to Lord Surya, Know its Significance, Vidhi, Date & Shubh Mahurat

Chhath is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival, native to the Indian subcontinent, specifically one of the major festivals (Mahaparva) to the states of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and the neighboring country of Nepal.

Dimple Gupta
A devotee with a bamboo basket containing Prasad and other items to offer to Lord Surya
A devotee with a bamboo basket containing Prasad and other items to offer to Lord Surya

Chhath is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival, native to the Indian subcontinent, specifically one of the major festivals (Mahaparva) to the states of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and the neighboring country of Nepal. 

The festival is dedicated to the Sun God (Lord Surya – the Sun Deity) and his Vedic consorts ‘Usha’ (Vedic Goddess of Dawn) and ‘Pratyusha’ (Goddess of Dusk). The Goddess of the festival ‘Chhathi Maiya’ is the personified mother goddess who provides strength and support to the poor.  

Significance of Chhath Puja

Visible to every being, the sun god is the basis of life of all the creatures living on the earth. Along with that, ‘Chhathi Maiya’ is also worshipped as she protects the offspring and provides longevity to them. In the local language of Bihar, Shashthi Devi is said to be Chhath Maiya, who is known as the Manas Daughter of Brahma Ji. In Puranas, Shashthi Devi is said to be the mother of Katyayani who is worshipped on the sixth date of Navratri.  

From the early Vedic period, this puja is being performed by sages who would fast for days and perform the puja with mantras from Rigveda. Nowadays, fasting is mainly observed by women to seek blessings for the well-being and the happiness of the family. 

4 days of Chhath puja 

This four-day festival starts with Kartik Shukla Chaturthi and ends with Kartik Shukla Saptami. 

Nahaye Khaye (first day): On this day, the women who keep the fast take a holy dip in Ganga and consume only a single meal. After bathing, the house is cleaned and the prepared food, after keeping it in front of God, is eaten to protect the mind from the vengeful tendency. The first day will fall on November 8th, i.e. today. Sunrise – 6:46 am & Sunset – 5:26 pm. 

Rasiaav Roti/ Kharna/ Lohanda (second day): Women keep a day-long fast from sunrise to sunset without water. They are not allowed to drink even a single drop of water. They break their fast just after sunset by offering food to the Sun and Chhath Mata. They can eat ‘gur ki kheer’ called Rasiaav, fruits, and chapati. On November 9th, Sunrise – 6:39 am & Sunset – 5:30 pm. 

Sandhya Arghya (third day):  On this day, an arghya is offered to the setting Sun by the fasting devotees. In the evening, a bamboo basket is decorated with fruits and vegetables, thekua, and rice laddus, after which they offer arghya with their families. At the time of arghya, water and milk are offered to the Sun, and Chhathi Maiya is worshipped with a soop filled with prasad. After that, Shashthi Devi songs are sung in the night and the Vrat Katha is heard. 10th November, Sunrise – 6:40 am & Sunset – 5:30 pm. 

Usha Arghya (fourth day): On the last day of the festival, the Arghya is offered to the rising Sun, and the 36 hours long fast is broken following that. The devotees go to the riverbanks to offer the arghya. Then they pray for the protection of children and the happiness of the entire family. After the worship, devotees drink sharbat or raw milk and eat prasad to break their fast, which is called Paran/ Parana. November 11th, Sunrise – 6:41 am & Sunset – 5:29 pm respectively. 

Environmentalists claim this festival to be one of the most-eco friendly religious festivals that should be used to spread the message of nature conservation. It’s one of the few Hindu festivals that cut across the rigid caste system (emerged in the post-Vedic period), it touches upon the ideas of ‘Equality’, ‘Fraternity’, ‘Unity’, and ‘Integrity’ as every devotee – elite or middle class and caste -  prepare similar Prasad and other items to offer to the almighty. 

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