Chhath Puja – Bihar’s Biggest Festival

What is Chhath Puja?

Chhat Puja is an ancient Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Surya and Chhati Maya (known as Surya’s sister). It is unique in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, East Uttar Pradesh, and the state of Nepal. It is the only Vedic festival dedicated to the sun god who is said to be the source of all powers and Chhati Maya (another name for the goddess Usha from the Vedic period).

Gods of light, energy, and life force are worshiped for the promotion of human well-being, development, and prosperity. During this festival, people try to thank the sun god for four days. People who watch fast during this festival are called doors.

Chhath is a Vedic ritual dedicated to the Hindu sun god Surya and the goddess Shashthi (also called Chhathi Maiyya). This is mentioned in both great Indian epics – when Rama and Sita returned to Ayodhya in Ramayana, people celebrated Diwali and on the sixth day Ramraja was made. On that day, Rama and Sita behaved quickly and Surya Shashti / Chhat Puja was performed by Sita. Hence, he was blessed with Lou and Cush as his sons. During their stay in Mahabharata, Chhat Puja was performed by Kunti after they had escaped from Lakshagrih.

Chhath Puja History and Significance

Chhath Puja is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival that worships Lord Surya (sun). It is widely believed that worshiping the sun god has spiritual and health benefits.

It is believed that after their return from exile to Kartik, Rama and Sita Chhat observed the Shukla Shashti, which shows that the sacred tradition of sun worship is as old as Hinduism. People from the Indian subcontinent and the Terai region of Nepal celebrate this festival as an opportunity to honor Mother Earth by fasting for two days and worshiping the sun.

Origins of the Chhath Puja

There are several stories about the origin of Chhath Puja. Some say that the puja was first captured by Sita, Rama’s wife. Sita was kidnapped by Ravana and rescued by her husband after the war. To show his gratitude, Sita took this position before Rama was crowned King of Ayodhya.

Others believe that the first chhat puja was made during the Mahabharata by Karna, the son of the sun god. Others say that the Pandavas and his wife Draupadi lived in utter helplessness during their years of exile. They were then visited by 108 wise men. Draupadi had no food to feed the wise and was heartbroken.

The meaning of Chhath Puja

Apart from its religious significance, there are many scientific facts about this ritual. People usually pray by the river at sunrise or sunset. This is scientifically supported by the fact that solar energy has the lowest ultraviolet radiation during these two times and is very beneficial for the body.

This traditional festival will show your positivity and help detoxify your mind, soul, and body. Help remove all negative energies in your body by worshiping the powerful sun.

Why is the festival called “Chhath”?

The meaning of the word Chhath is six in Nepali or Hindi and because it is celebrated on the sixth day of the month of Karthika it is called the same.

Why is Chhath Puja celebrated?

Many stories go back to the origins of Chhath Puja. It is believed that Chhat Puja was celebrated in ancient times by Draupadi and Pandavas from Hastinapur to solve problems and regain lost kingdoms.

The mantra from the Rig Veda text is chanted while worshiping the sun. According to the story, this puja first started with Surya Putra Karna, who ruled over Angga Desh (Bhagalpur in Bihar) during the Mahabharata era.

The history of science, more precisely the history of yoga, goes back to the early Vedic period. Legend has it that the sages and sages of that era used this method to avoid outside food and get their energy directly from the sun.

Chhat Puja rituals

Chhati Maya, known as Usha, is the goddess worshiped in this puja. The Chhath Festival includes some rituals that are much more difficult than other Hindu festivals.

This usually includes immersion in a river or body of water, strict fasting (you can’t even drink water during the entire fasting process), standing and praying for long periods in the water facing the sun, and offering prasadam to the sun at sunrise and sunset.

Nahay Khay

On the first day of the puja, worshipers have to immerse themselves in the holy river and prepare suitable food. The Kaddu Bhaat, along with Chana Dal, are common preparations for the day and are cooked in a mud oven with mud or bronze utensils and mango wood. Women who fast are only able to eat once a day.

On that day (or the next day, if appropriate), Vrain, with the help of other family members, washed the wheat which was used to prepare various offerings to the sun god. Wheat is washed very carefully and distributed to dry. Children are obliged not to see anything dirty. You need to make sure the birds don’t eat (or climb on them while flying!).

Thakua preparations went smoothly during the day. The wheat is milled at Jaata’s house (a small version of the mill that operates by hand and grinds the grains of flour) or sent to a village mill (which is gangajal washed and cleaned for festival purposes). Several sweets as well as rotis and puris for prasadam are prepared from flour.

Locanda and khatna

On the second day, the congregation has to fast all day long, which can only be interrupted shortly after sunset. Parvaiten cooked all the prasad alone, including the kher and the whispers, and stopped their hunger with this prasad, after which they starved to death for 36 hours without water.

Vrain fasted all day without a drop of water. This is a strict fast in which he must make sure not to touch dirty things and, of course, not to eat or drink. In the evening he prepared a meal for the Tasmai and Puri families. Tasmai is similar to Kheer in that it is made from milk, sugar, and rice. However, the milk must come from cows whose calves are still alive. No water is added to the milk while cooking tasmai.

In the evening, after the cooking was finished, Vrain performed the ritual at the locked door, offering Naiveda to various gods as well as Gram Devta and Kul Devta. Nevada is made from chapatis, tasmai, and banana and spread on banana leaves.

After he finished, he purposely left a small amount of food on a plate that was considered pious and was eaten by family members like Prasadam. Children have a hard time eating it because it’s like the purest form of blessing a person can ever receive.

Sandhya Arghya

The third day was spent preparing prasad at home and in the evening the entire Vratin family accompanied them to the riverbank, where they gave suggestions for the sunset. Women usually wear yellow turmeric essence when giving advice. The evenings are made better with enthusiastic folk songs.

On that day the family, usually children or small children, prepare baskets and soap (bamboo hanging baskets of all kinds) containing various sweets such as takua, Padua, each and everything that grows (made from sugarcane) at that time, oranges, apples for radishes, bananas, dried fruit, corn, etc.).

Male members carry baskets over their heads from the house to the ghats. The whole street is cleaned and watered and cleaned to keep the whole process chaste. The baskets open in the ghats where Vratin will sink and pray until the last rays of sun and pratyusha.

He would then take each basket with a Diya (earth lamp) and face the sun because family and community members would offer Arghya by pouring water and milk in front of the basket facing the deity of the Sun.

When this process was complete, Vratin came back in and out to perform some rituals at the ghat. This includes prayer, laying flowers, burning duos (finely chopped sandalwood), and incense. Meanwhile, the male members bring the baskets home and keep them in the room where no one can accidentally touch or step on them, and so on.

Usha Arghya

Here, on t, the last day all pilgrims go to the river bank before sunrise to make sacrifices on sunrise. The festival ends when the gates quickly break their 36 hours (called Paran) and relatives come to their house to take their Prasad share.

The baskets are taken to the ghats and Vratin is immersed in water. Everyone was waiting for the first rays of the sun to appear. As soon as the first rays were seen, Argya was offered in the form of water and milk, as at night, to the sun and ears, the first rays of dawn.

The baskets are returned to the home where families and devotees share prasadam from baskets. Each item is distributed so that it is on an empty stomach until the Vrain comes out of the water.

She changes into new clothes, usually in a sari, and goes home with the girls in the family. Along the way, he would worship the land in the farm fields. This is important because we grow our food from the earth and he prays for its fertility. Brain thanks the floor for the food.

Eat during the puja chhath

Chhath Prasad is traditionally made with rice, oats, dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts, gadgets, coconut, and lots of melted butter. One important thing about the dishes that are prepared during the chat is that they are all made completely without salt, shallots, and garlic.

Thekua is a special part of Chhath Puja and is a whole wheat flour biscuit that you should try if you visit the place during the festival.

Surya Mandir

Deo Surya Mandir is a Hindu temple in Bihar, India. This shrine is a sun protection area dedicated to the Sun God for Puja Chats. This temple is located in the city of Deo in the state of Bihar, India. This temple is unique because it faces west, the sun is setting, not the usual sunrise. It is said that this temple is considered very comfortable to visit the Chhath Puja Festival, Ardra Nakshatra, and every Sunday. The holiest place for Chhath in the world is Dev. Here the sun god fulfills the vows of all devotees.

The Folklores Behind the Auspicious Chhath Puja

According to the chronicles, the kings of ancient North India invited Maga Purohits because they were skilled in sun worship. When this service starts, Chhath Puja. There is another belief among Hindus that Chhat Puja is also celebrated in the Vedic period, as a hymn that worships the sun god is found in the Rig Veda.

Mahabharata also contains references to this festival. Draupadi is performed in a similar ritual at Mahabharata. According to him, Pandava and Draupadi performed chhat puja on the advice of the great saint Dalmia. As a result, Draupadi managed to overcome this sudden problem and help the Pandavas regain the lost kingdom.

Another famous legend has it that this puja was initiated by Surya Putra Karna (Sun Karna’s son). He was Emperor Anga Desha (now Bhagalpur in Bihar).

Places of Chhath Celebration

As already mentioned, this festival is traditionally celebrated among the people of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and the Madesh or Nepal region of India. But the people who had relocated their bases from this area to other places didn’t stop celebrating Chhath either.

So you can see chat holidays in the city center of north, south and central India. Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Bengaluru, and others. They also celebrate that. Likewise, people of Indian or Nepalese descent living in Mauritius, United States, Fiji, United Kingdom, South Africa, Republic of Ireland, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Jamaica, Guyana, other parts Of the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Macau, Japan, and Indonesia also dedicates Chhath Puja.

The main devotee must be pure during the puja

As mentioned earlier, Chhath Puja is very demanding. During the festival, Parvaitin has to be clean. He had to bathe in the holy river, stop eating and drinking, and sleep on the ground.

You can’t suddenly stop performing puja

Chhath Puja was passed down to the family from generation to generation. A family is required to perform a ritual once they start. You can only avoid puja if someone in your family has died.

Chhath Puja’s special Prasad

Parvati is obliged to offer a special prasad to the Sun God. The holy foods are kheer, thekua, laddu rice, dates, and fruits. Especially during the festival, other family members are not allowed to eat with onions and garlic.

Chhath Puja Dates from 2021 – 2029

Listed below are the dates and day when Chhath puja will be celebrated in the country from 2021 to 2029:

8 to 11 November 2021Wednesday to Saturday2021
28 to 31 October 2022Friday to Monday2022
17 to 20 November 2023Friday to Monday2023
5 to 8 November 2024Tuesday to Friday2024
25 to 28 October 2025Saturday to Tuesday2025
13 to 16 November 2026Friday to Monday2026
2 to 5 November 2027Tuesday to Friday2027
21 to 24 October 2028Saturday to Tuesday2028
9 to 12 November 2029Friday to Monday2029
Note: The dates may vary. Verify with the government gazette.

Video of Chhat Puja

Here is a video by Bihar Tourism which sums up the festival in all its glory. Enjoy!


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