The celebration of Chhath Puja is primeval and is considered sacred since ages. The ritual performed during the puja is similar to the holy offerings for God Sun as stated in Rig Veda.
Chhath Puja is a central festival of Bihar, Jharkhand, U.P. and it is celebrated in some regions of Nepal as well. Although you will see its significance in other northeast regions like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Etc. This puja is dedicated to Lord Sun and his wife Usha.
During the festival, disciple offer prayers to the couple requesting blessings and thanking them for preserving life on earth. However Chhath last four days but the main festival is celebrated on the third day of puja.
Chhath Puja is a symbol of prosperity, happiness, and growth. In Hindu religion, it is said to cure many diseases like leprosy and illness related to skin. It is the festival to take benediction from elders and ensure health and affluence among family members.
When Chhath Puja is celebrated?
Chhath Puja is celebrated on the sixth-day of Kartika Shukla Shisthi in Kartika month as per Indian calendar in the Vikram Samvat. This falls typically during the month of October or November after Diwali.
However, it also rejoices in summers but people follow Karthika’s Chhath i.e in winters.
Chhath Puja 2018 date
Chhath Puja will be performed on 11th November Sunday (sunset) to 14th November Wednesday (sunrise) this year in 2018.
History of Chhath Puja
Chhath Puja is celebrated since ages. Our holy book Rig-Veda has it’s cited in it and states all the similar rituals performed during the puja. Sages (rishis) during ancient times worshipped God Sun to obtain energy from and thank him for the proper conservation of earth.
Legends – The exact origin of Chhath Puja isn’t known yet and remains ambiguous but it is to be alleged that it begins since Ramayana and Mahabharata took place.
Chhath Puja’s association with both the legendary events-
Ramayana – According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Rama and Maa Sita have kept fast and offered prayers to Lord Sun after the dawn in the month of Kartika in Shukla Paksha after returning to Ayodhya from 14 years of exile. Since then it is believed to be commenced.
Mahabharata – Karna from the five Pandavas is said to be the son of God Sun and Devi Kunti. It is said that Karna daily offered prayers to Lord Sun while standing in the river and dispersed Prasad to the deprived. And another story narrates Pandavas and Draupadi to perform similar puja to get their lost kingdom back.
Chhath Puja Scientific Significance
Many deem that Chhath Puja isn’t just a part of Hindu ritual but it has roots in science also and helps one to detoxify human body and boost metabolism.
By taking dips in water while exposed to the sun our body’s bio-electricity flow is increased which overall improves the functionality of the body. Other believes that this puja helps in getting rid of harmful viruses and bacteria from the body and prepares it for winters.
How is Chhath Puja celebrated?
Chhath Puja is a four-day fiesta that begins after 4 days of Diwali. This is how faithfully it is observed by devotees every year.
#Naha Kha / Nahaye Khaye- This is the first day of the puja when followers begin their day by taking a dip in the river Kosi, Ganga or Karnali though it can be any river nearby these are considered divine. And bring this holy water home to prepare the offerings.
#Kharna Puja / Lohanda- On second-day devotee’s bath and get up early morning. They fast for the whole day which ends in the evening just little after the sunset. After the worship of Lord Sun and Moon, offerings are prepared for family members like Kheer, rice, and banana. After these offerings, they keep a fast for next 36 hours without food and water.
#Sandhya Arghya (Evening prayers) – After fasting for 36hrs evening prayers is offered to Lord Aun and Chhathi Maiya by taking a dip in holy water and offering food (Prasad). Amid folk songs is sung by the devotees to persuade the god.
#Usha Arghya (Early morning Offerings) – On fourth day devotees wake up early and reach to the sacred rivers. Take a dip and thank god for everything and apologizes for any mistake. Offers Prasad and eat to break their fast.
Followers this time is filled with positive energy, enthusiasm and experience purity and prudent lives. They sleep on the floor with a single blanket and eat fruits.
The third day of Chhath Puja is said to be imperative where devotees offer prayer to Sun early morning (Surya Namaskar).
How to Do Chhath Puja (Vidhi)
This puja is started in the early morning before sunrise so that full worship is completed before sunrise. Keep a table (Chowki) at the puja’s place and spread a red cloth over it. Images or idol of Lord Ganesha and Lord Sun is placed upon this chowki. Put red vermillion, rice (akshat) and turmeric on the photo of both gods. This is basically to raise the deity and invite them for puja. Offer flowers to the images and recite-
Sri Ganeshaya Namah and Shri Suryaya Namah
For puja earthen lamps, ghee, wicks, incense sticks, flowers, and offerings are needed. Light the lamp and present flowers and offerings and chant mantra 108 times.
Place all the offerings (dates, coconut, sweet lime etc.), lamp in a bamboo winnow and do puja (Nivedan). Then light camphor and do Aarti. After this take blessings from God with all your family members and keep the lamp lit till puja is completed. Keep a sandal piece in your mouth and visit riverside with the bamboo winnow in hand and stay till sunrises. As you get Surya Dev’s darshan consume sandal piece. Do Surya Namaskar and prayers to the god.
Once worship is completed with water and sun, repeat this after coming home back at your worship place and distribute dates fruit first to the devotees which you kept while Surya puja.
There is a special offering which is presented to Lord Sun and Chhatti Maiya (Usha) that includes Kheer, Thekua, banana, sweets, rice laddu, fruits like sugarcane, sweet lime which is kept in small bamboo winnows. This food is Saatvik and is made without salt, onion or garlic. Purity is the main thing on which high attention is paid.
How to make Thekua/ Khajoor/ Khaujuria for Chhath Puja
Thekua is offered as a special sweet to God Sun. If you don’t know we are sharing this recipe with you in this article to make your worship accomplish.
Ingredients- Whole wheat flour, Ghee, Jaggery, Cooking Oil, Cooking soda (Optional-Almonds, Coconut & Cardamom powder)
Method-Take crushed almonds, cardamom powder and combines it with ghee. Keep mixing till it is properly combined. Take jaggery and add it to the boiling water. Once cooled mix ghee in it and add this mixture in wheat flour slowly to make a stiff dough. Roll in your favorite shape and fry it on a medium-high flame until done. Your Thekua is ready.