Chhath Puja 2023: Chhath Puja is a vibrant and joyous occasion in which women around the nation adorn themselves in their finest attire and adorn their homes with lights and flowers. In addition to this, they dance and sing songs to commemorate the festival. Women get together during Chhath Puja to celebrate their families, cultures, customs and religions.
Chhath Puja is a Vedic festival that is dedicated to the Sun God (Lord Surya) and Chhathi Maiya (another name for Goddess Usha and a known sister to Lord Surya). In Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and some areas of Uttar Pradesh, it is observed with great fanfare and fervour. The four-day celebration of the festival takes place on the sixth day of the Hindu lunar month of Kartika. To express gratitude to the Hindu Sun God Surya Dev for all of life’s blessings, devotees worship him during these four days. Accordingly, the Chhath Puja festival this year is scheduled to start on Friday, November 17 and run through November 20. Other names for this holy festival are Dala Chhath, Prathihar, Surya Shashthi, and Chhathi.
Significance of Chhath Puja:
Countless devotees will celebrate Chhath Puja, the festival dedicated to worshipping Surya, the Sun God, and his sister Usha, also known as Chhathi Maiya. The Bihari community celebrates this pious festival with great grandeur on a global scale.
Compared to other Hindu festivals, Chhath Puja rituals are said to be more rigorous and one of the toughest fasting. They entail rigorous fasting (no water), bathing in rivers or other bodies of water, praying while standing in the water, spending a lot of time facing the sun, and giving the sun “Prasad” at sunrise and sunset. During the festival, no food will be prepared with salt, onions, or garlic. Devotees make sure to clean the entire place. The pompous celebrations last long for 4 days worshipping the Surya Dev, the source of all powers. Devotees keep a fast named Vrati. It is observed twice a year, once in summer and once in winter.
November 17- Day 1, Nahay Khay:
Chhath Puja begins with the ritual of Nahay Khay (bathing and feasting) on the first day.
The followers eat a simple meal (without garlic onions) after bathing in the river or pond. This is the day when people buy fruits, clean their homes, and light diyas (earthen lamps) for puja. The fruits used in the puja also represent the harvest time or season. Drik Panchang reports that the sun will rise at 06:45 am and set at 5:27 pm on this particular day.
November 18 Day 2, Lohanda or Kharna:
On the second day, named Kharna, devotees keep fast throughout the day, breaking it only after sunset as an offering to the deities. Devotees served a prasad to the Chhathi Maiya and then distributed it amongst relatives and family members., The sunrise time is marked at 06:46 am and the sunset time is 5:26 pm, respectively, according to the Drik Panchang.
November 19 Day3, Surya Shashth:
The primary ceremonies begin on the third day. Before dawn, devotees—who are mostly women—assemble at bodies of water, such as ponds or rivers. They present the rising Sun with an Arghya (water offering), standing waist-deep in the water. This year, it will be particularly noteworthy as the third day falls on Sunday, the day dedicated to the Sun. During the night, people sing devotional songs and listen to the Chhath Vrat Katha. Sunrise and sunset are planned for 06:46 am and 5:26 pm, respectively, according to Drik Panchang.
November 20 Day 4, Usha Arghya:
The Chhath Puja concludes with the offering of Arghya to the rising Sun in the morning. It is thought that Usha is the consort of Surya Dev. After Arghya, the 36-hour fast is finished. Drik Panchang reports that today’s sunrise is at 06:47 am and its sunset is at 5:26 pm. One of the most significant and difficult festivals observed in the nation is Chhath Puja. The women of the family who are celebrating the puja must always observe the four-day fasting ritual without any failure.