Chhath Puja: Everything To Know About The Festival of The Sun Goddess

Mar/03/2022 / by Richa Sharma
Chhath Puja
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Chhath is an ancient Hindu celebration that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It has earned popularity in recent years among the Nepali hill people, owing to the influence of southern immigration. Prayers are presented to the sun god Surya at Chhath puja to express thanks and thankfulness for imparting the riches of life on earth and to pray for the fulfillment of specific desires.

ChhathiMaiya, the festival’s goddess, is worshiped as the mother goddess and Sun’s sister. It is observed six days after Diwali, on the sixth day of the Hindu lunar month of Karthika (October–November). This year, it is celebrated on Sunday, October 30, 2022. The ceremonies are performed throughout four days.

They include holy bathing, fasting, abstinence from water consumption (vrata), standing in water, and presenting prasad (devotion offerings) and alsoarghya to the setting and rising suns. Additionally, some devotees undertake a prostration march to make their way to the river banks.

The Significance Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja
Image credits: Amarujala

The Chhath puja is devoted to Surya, the sun deity. The Sun is the visible god, the source of life for all beings on earth. On this day, in addition to the Sun God, ChhathiMaiya is also worshiped. According to Vedic astrology, ChhathiMaiya or Chhathi Mata protects and prolongs the progeny’s lives.

Rituals and Customs of Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja
Image credits: Bhaskarassets

It takes place over four days. The whole home, its environs, and the walkways leading to the Ghaat are meticulously cleaned. It begins with:

  • KadduBhaat or NahaiKhai – The Parvaitin prepares one of most SatvikKadduBhaat (Bottle Gourd with Bengal Gram Lentil dish with Arva Rice Bhaat) in the afternoon as Bhog. This begins the parv and is the Parvaitin’s last supper during Chhath Puja.
  • Kharna – This is celebrated on the day after KadduBhaat or just on the eve of PahliArag (Arghya). The afternoon is spent preparing. Parvaitin prepares rice with jaggery Kheer and Dosti Poori, as well as other fresh fruits and dried fruits as naivedya (bhoga) offerings to the god.
  • PahliArag
  • DusriArag

Sweets, Kheer, Thekua, and fruits (mostly sugarcane, sweet lime, and banana) are presented as prasad in little bamboo soop winnows. The meal is 100% vegetarian and is made without salt, onion, or garlic. The emphasis is on retaining the food’s integrity.

FAQs About Chhath Puja

What happens during Chhath Puja?

Food is made at home and enjoyed at sunset, while family members give Arghya to Lord Surya in a water tank or on a riverbank, referred to as Sandhya Arghya or PehliArghya. Devotees worship the Sun God in various ways, from singing folk melodies to reciting mantras.

Who performs the Chhath Puja?

During these four days, devotees honor Surya Dev, the Hindu Sun God. Women who conduct the Puja keep a fast during this time and therefore do not drink water. The setting Sun is honored during this event by presenting arghya.

When was the first Chhath Puja held?

According to folklore, it has been done since the early Vedic era by sages who fast for days and conduct the puja using Rigvedic mantras.

Can a man do Chhath Puja?

While women are more likely to fast during Chhath Puja, males can also do so.

Conclusion

Now that you know everything about Chhath Puja, it’s time to get ready to celebrate this festival with a lot of pomp and love! For more blogs about popular Indian festivals, keep reading Seema!