Women holding jars look on as devotees take bath early in the morning in the Ganges river and bring holy water to their home to prepare offerings on the first day of Chhath Puja ancient hindu festival in Patna.
Women holding jars look on as devotees take bath early in the morning in the Ganges river and bring holy water to their home to prepare offerings on the first day of Chhath Puja ancient hindu festival in Patna.
AFP File Photo

The Hindu festival of Chhath Puja is celebrated with great fervour in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. It is a four-day festival that is dedicated to worship of the Sun and his sister Shashti Devi.

The ritual known as Chhathi Maiya is followed to thank the goddess for the bounties of life. It is celebrated on the sixth day of the Kartik month in the Hindu calendar.

The four-day festivities with the Nahai-Khai ritual on the first day. This is followed by Kharna on the second day. The evening of the third day and the morning of the fourth day is dedicated to the evening Arghyadaan and morning Arghyadaan respectively.

The rituals are intense and involve taking a bath in the holy river, observing fast, abstaining from drinking water as well as standing in the water for long periods of time and offering food to the setting and rising sun.

The food, known as prasad, is strictly vegetarian and cooked without putting salt, garlic and onions as the focus is on purity. Mostly, fruits, thekua, rice laddoo, sweets and kheer are offered to the gods.

The festival is mostly celebrated in the Northern parts of the country, especially Bihar and Jharkhand. But, people who have relocated from these states to other parts of the country also form a large part of the celebrations.

This year the four-day-long Chhath Puja begins on Wednesday, i.e. on November 18. As per Drik Panchang, Chhath Puja day falls on Friday, November 20, 2020.

Chhath Puja 2020: Important Dates and Timings

Day 1: Nahay Khay

The first day (Chaturthi tithi of Kartika, Shukla Paksha) of the Chhath Puja is celebrated as Nahay Khay. On this day, women take a dip in the Ganga or any other holy river/water body.

Sunrise time - 6:46 am

Sunset time - 5:26 pm

Kharna

The second day/Panchami Tithi is celebrated as Kharna, by observing Nirjala vrat (fasting without drinking even a drop of water) from sunrise to sunset. Devotees break their fast only after offering their prayers to the Sun God during sunset.

Sunrise time - 6:47 am

Sunset time - 5:26 pm

Chhath puja

The third day of the festival is the main puja day, and it is called Chhath Puja. It is observed on Shashti Tithi. On this day, women offer Sandhya Arghya and observe a day-long fast and break it only on the following day after sunrise. On Chhath Puja day, women worship Chhati Maiya, the Sun God and Usha (Goddess of Dawn) and Pratyusha (the Goddess of Dusk).

Sunrise time - 6:48 am

Sunset time - 5:26 pm

Usha Arghya

Women, who observe the Chhat Puja fast, break their vrat on the fourth day/Saptami Tithi. On this day, women offer their prayers and water to the Sun God.

Sunrise time - 6:49 am

Sunset time - 5:25 pm

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