Chhath Puja is an ancient festival celebrated by Hindus in the eastern Indian states and Nepal. It is celebrated to worship the Sun god and his wife Usha. The festival is celebrated for a period of 3 days and third day is the most important. As per Hindu mythology, it is believed that sun has healing capabilities in addition to ensuring prosperity, longevity and happiness.
Chhath Puja 2019
In 2019, Chhath Puja is a public holiday in Bihar and Jharkhand and falls on 2 and 3 November 2019.
Features Of Chhath Puja
As per the tradition of Chhath puja, women have to fast for four continuous days. The four days are ‘Nahay Khay’, ‘Lohanda and Kharna’, ‘Sandhya Arghya’ and ‘Usha Arghya’. On the first day, ‘Nahay Khay’, the devotees take a dip in a river body near their area of residence, preferably the Ganga river.
The women who observe the fast are allowed to have only a single meal for the day. On the second day, women have to fast for the entire day without a single drop of food or water. This day is known as ‘Kharna’. The fast can only be broken once the sun sets. Food is offered to the Sun first, after which the women are allowed to eat.
Another day-long fast is to be observed on the third day, known as ‘Sandhya Arghya’. On this day, the setting sun is worshipped and prayers are offered to it at the ‘ghat’ (the place where the river body is located). On the fourth day, Usha Arghya, prayers are offered to the rising sun. People wake up as early as 2:00 am in the morning to get ready to go to the ‘ghat’. The women can break their fast once they have offered their prayers to the rising sun.
Chhath Puja In Different States
- Chhath puja in Bihar: Chhath puja is the main festival of the residents of Bihar. Bakargao in Nalanda and Ular Sun temple in Patna are especially famous for their Chhath celebrations.
- Chhath puja in Uttar Pradesh: Chhath puja is mainly celebrated in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. A public holiday is observed on the eve of the festival in the state.
- Chhath puja in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh: Chhath puja is also celebrated in central India in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Chhath puja is one of the most important festivals celebrated in the country and one of the most arduous, too. The fasting for four days is a ritual that is to be followed without fail by the women of the family celebrating the puja.