Why Chhath puja is celebrated In Details

Celebration of Chhath Puja is the offering of thanksgiving to Sun God for providing us with energy and enthusiasm to work throughout the year. Chhath Puja gives an opportunity to express gratitude and share happiness with friends and family. It’s a simple festival celebrated every year by millions of people across Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.

Chhath Puja is the only festival devoted to Sun God or Surya Devta among all festivals celebrated in India. In Bihar, it’s called Chhath while it’s Dala Chhath in Jharkhand, Chatth Puja or Chhath in Uttar Pradesh, Bhopal & Kharch in Madhya Pradesh.

Chhath falls on the month of Kartik (mid of November to mid-December). It is one of the most important festivals for all agricultural communities in India which includes Bihari, Oriya, Gujarati, Punjabi, and many more. It is important for farmers as they depend on rains as well as Sun God to help in successful crops.

Chhath Puja brings the entire community together with all age groups fasting across Bihar from 4 am till the sun sets and breaks the fast at 9 pm. People who can’t take water and food during the day pray to Surya Devta for the last four hours of the day.

Sunrise on Chhath Puja day in Patna (Pataliputra) is at 05:16 am and Sun Set at 17:10 pm.

Chhath Puja is celebrated for two days in Bihar while it’s four days celebration in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh that starts on Maha Saptami (7th Day of Kartik month) and ends on Dashmi (10th Day of Kartik Month).

Chhath Puja Timings:

On the day of Chhath Puja, people start preparations for offering pinda to Sun God and performing Homa through rituals like worshipping Surya Devta (Sun God), tying a holy thread, and making traditional delicacies. It is believed that on the day of Chhath Puja, Sun God comes to meet his sons.

The languages of India are enriched by different cultures and traditions during each festival. Chhath Puja is also celebrated with local customs and rituals throughout Bihar. People from different regions celebrate the festival in their own traditional way.

Rituals of Chhath Puja:

Chhath puja rituals begin early morning as people take a holy dip in Kushadhwaja Sarovar which lies near by river Ganga.

Chhath Puja rituals are performed in various steps:

  • Devotees prepare 40-50 liters of pindas (cooked rice mixed with black sesame seeds and sugar candy), fill them in a kalash (pot made up of clay). On the day of Chhath puja, devotees bring water from the Ganga river and offer it to Sun God. They then offer pindas (rice balls), prepared during the previous night, to Sun God.
  • Chhath puja rituals also include offering flowers and garlands by women who do not have children to Surya Devta for having a child. Prayers are offered to Surya Devta by bowing in front of him.
  • After rituals, devotees break their fast by having oranges and water after offering pindas (rice balls) to Lord Surya Devta.
  • People who cannot take fruits during the day eat puri or rice kheer which is prepared with rice, milk, and dry fruits.
  • After the ritual offering of pindas on the main day, fasting devotees take a break for the next two days while others continue to observe fast on the third and fourth day of Chhath Puja. Chhath puja rituals have remained the same till four days in Madhya Pradesh where people enjoy Chhath songs, dance, and play games.

Chhath Puja Significance:

People pray to Surya Devta for the last four hours of the day so that Sun God helps them in winning all difficulties through his divine powers. They also ask Surya Devta for health, wealth, and prosperity throughout their lives. Chhath puja is an occasion for brothers and sisters to meet each other and share the grief of separation. It is one of the most important festivals in Bihar which brings family members together.

Chhath Puja Celebration:

Chhath Puja is celebrated with great enthusiasm across Bihar by offering pindas (rice balls) and performing rituals to Sun God. It is also celebrated with traditional dance and music in which people play different musical instruments like drums, dholak, and shehnai. Chhath songs are sung on the occasion of Chhath Puja during the rituals.

On the day of Chhath puja, the grooms’ family sends gifts like clothes, sweets, and other ceremonial items to girls’ families.

Chhath Puja is celebrated with enthusiasm in Varanasi (Kashi). Special arrangements are made at ghats of Ganga where thousands of devotees assemble. Chhath Puja celebrations also include different competitions like singing, dancing, and playing games which add colors to the festival.

Chhathi Maiya – Surya Ki Devi:

For a long time, Chhath Puja is celebrated by women on the banks of the Ganga River. They observe fast and offer pindas (rice balls) to Sun God- Surya Devta as respect so that their family members get rid of all problems and sorrows.

They also ask for affection, love, and blessings from Lord Surya Devta for the happiness of their family members.

After offering pindas, women offer fruits to Surya Devta and break their fast by having water and fruits which they could not have during the daytime.

Chhathi Maiya is considered a symbolic representation of the Chhath Puja celebration in the Gaya district. For the well-being of her family, she observes fast on Chhath Puja and offers pindas to Sun God. Even if she stays away from home, she always looks for an opportunity to offer Pindas in the Gaya ghats in Chhath Puja.

Chhathi Maiya is mostly related to ‘Saawan Punnami’ Chhath Puja. In this kind of Chhath Puja, seasonal fruits are offered to Sun God after completing all rituals.

The legend behind Chhathi Maiya is also linked with the story of Holika in Hindu mythology, which you can read here.

Chhathi Maiya carries a long jute stick in her hand to balance pindas on her head. People bow down before Chhathi Maiya as respect and take blessings from her.

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