Communities from North India especially Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh will start celebrating Chhath Puja from November 04. The four-day festival ends on November 7.
Devotees follow a strict ritual for four-day which comprises of asceticism from drinking water, holy bathing and praying to the Sun God. It is also said that during this period devotees sleep on the floor on a single blanket.
During Chhath Puja, devotees offer prayers to the Sun God to bestow them with health, wealth and prosperity. Devotees, mostly married women, observe fast 36 hours and offer wheat, milk, sugarcane, bananas and coconuts to the Sun.
The festival is celebrated six days after Diwali. It is also said that during the festival sunrise and sunset symbolises the cycle of birth and death.
Day 01 (November 04)
The first day of the Chhath known as ‘Nahay Khai’ and is dedicated to cleaning of house and preparing traditional food. On this day devotees take a holy dip in water bodies. The women who are fasting eat only one meal. The meal is known as ‘Kaddu Bhat’ and is prepared in hand made earthen or bronze utensils.
The food prepare on this day comprises of rice, chana dal and lauki (Green Gourd). Green Gourd has a special importance on this day and the day is also called as Lauki Bhat. The day symbolises purity and discipline.
Day 02 (November 05)
The second day of the festival is known as Lohanda and Kharna where the devotees observe fast during the day and break the fast after sunset. After offering prayer to the sun and moon, women distribute kheer, banana and rice to their family. After which a fast without water is observed for 36 hours.
Day 03 (November 06)
The main festival is celebrated on the third day by offering Surya Namaskar and fruits to the god. Singing melodious folk lore, devotees take a dip in water bodies in the evening and offer prayers to the Sun God and Goddess Chhathi Maiyya, wife of Sun God. The day is called ‘Sandhya Arghya’ meaning evening offerings.
Day 04 (November 07)
The fourth and the last day of the festival is celebrated by offering prayers and sweets in the morning also called as ‘Usha Arghya’. Following which devotees break their fast by eating a preparation made using ginger and sugar.
Chhath Puja is said to have reference in the mythology. In Mahabharata, as per the advice of sage Dhaumya, Draupadi is referred to observe similar fast to achieve back there lost kingdom. Another reference is found in Ramayana, where Rama and Sita offer prayer to the Sun God after returning to Ayodhya.
Also Read: Chhath Puja 2016: Significance, Date, Muhurat and Vidhi
Over the time, Chhath Puja has become popular all over the country and is celebrated like Ganesh Festival in Maharashtra, Bihu in Assam, Onam in Kerala and Pongal in Tamil Nadu.