History behind the Chhath Puja celebration; Know date, significance, rituals, and more
The popular festival, Chhath Puja, is observed throughout Nepal, some areas of Uttar Pradesh, and the state of Bihar in northern India. The celebrated festival of Chhath begins on the sixth day of the Hindu calendar month “Kartika,”. Usha, the wife of the Sun God, is worshipped during this festival.
The purpose of this event is to thank Deity for sustaining life on Earth and to ask the celestial Sun god and his wife for their blessing. Hindu faith holds that the sun brings life, advancement, positivity, prosperity, and well-being in addition to treating a number of medical issues. Furthermore, the actual first day of Chhath Puja is not the primary day of Chhath, but rather the third.
People observe a strict routine over the course of four days to celebrate this festival. Rituals and traditions include fasting, praying to the rising and setting sun, taking holy baths, and meditating while standing in water. One of the most well-known Indian holidays is observed in Bihar as well as many other Indian states and areas, including Jharkhand, eastern UP, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Gujarat, and Chhattisgarh.
It is also observed in some parts of Nepal. It is observed in the Vikram Samvat on the sixth day of the Karthika month. Chhath Puja is also observed during the summer months following Holi, but the Chhath observed during the Kathika month is more significant and is more enthusiastically observed by the public.
Chhath Puja 2023
The Chhath Puja celebrations this year begin on November 17, Friday, and the major day is on November 20, Monday. On the fourth day, November 20, 2023—Monday—Chhath Puja comes to an end. Chhath Puja is also known by other names such as Pratihar, DalaChhath, Chhathi, and Surya Shashthi.
Surya, the sun god, is honoured during Chhath Puja. Every living thing on earth can see the sun, which is also the source of all life. On this day, ChhathiMaiya and the Sun God are both honoured. ChhathiMaiya (or Chhathi Mata), according to Vedic astrology, grants children long lives and good health while shielding them from illnesses and troubles.
Chhath Puja is said to have its origins in the early Vedic era, when sages would conduct the puja using Rigvedic mantras while fasting for days at a time. Karna, the son of Lord Surya and the ruler of AngaDesh, or modern-day Bhagalpur in Bihar, is thought to have participated in Chhath Puja. Another tale states that the Puja was also conducted by the Pandavas and Draupadi to overcome difficulties in their lives and restore their exiled realm. Chhath Puja is known as Mahaparva among those from Bihar and other nearby locations.
Chhath Puja’s Scientific Significance
Chhath Puja has the simplest and easiest technique to detoxify your body, as bathing in water and being exposed to sunlight boost the flow of solar bioelectricity, which enhances human body functionality. Also, it is asserted that Chhath Puja helps the body get ready for the coming winter by killing dangerous microorganisms.
History of Chhath Puja
The Chhathi Maiya is worshipped at the celebration of Chhath, which is also mentioned in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana. The celebration is popular in the Munger region for being related to Sita Manpatthar (Sita Charan, or Sita’s Footsteps). In Munger, the Sitacharan temple, perched atop a boulder in the middle of the Ganges, serves as the primary place of worship for the Chhath festival.
Chhath celebration in Munger is said to have been conducted by the goddess Sita. It wasn’t until this incident that the Chhath festival began. Therefore, Munger and Begusarai both celebrate ChhathMahaparva with considerable fanfare.
Another tale claims that King Priyavrat, the first Manu Swayambhu’s son, was exceedingly sad because he had no child. Maharishi Kashyap asked him to do a yajna. He carried out the yajna for a son as instructed by Maharishis. Following this, Queen Malini gave birth to a son, but the child was tragically stillborn. This caused a great deal of sadness for the monarch and his family. Mata Shashthi then manifested herself in the skies.
She spoke after the king had prayed, saying: “I am Devi Parvati’s sixth manifestation, ChhathiMaiya. I safeguard every child in the world and grant every couple without children the blessing of having children.” Then the Goddess anointed the dead child with her hands, bringing him to life. The king worshipped the goddess Shashthi Devi as he was very appreciative of the goddess’ favour. It is thought that following this puja, this festival spread to other parts of the world.
Mentions in Mahabharata
As the Rigveda contains hymns praising the Lord Surya and serves as an example of comparable practices, it is claimed that Chhatth Puja rites may even date back to an early time when they are mentioned in the old Vedas. In the Sanskrit epic literature, Mahabharata, the custom is also mentioned, and Draupadi is said to have observed the same customs.
The epic claims that the Chhath Puja ceremonies were carried out by Draupadi and the Pandavas—the kings of Indraprastha (current-day Delhi)—on the advice of the honourable sage Dhaumya. In addition to escaping all of her problems thanks to Lord Surya (Sun), Draupadi also later assisted the Pandavas in regaining their lost kingdom. Karna, the son of Surya, carried out some of the rituals that are now a part of Chhath Puja in the Mahabharata before the battle of Kurukshetra, according to Kumar. Later, in an effort to reclaim their empire, Draupadi and the Pandavas carried out identical ceremonies.
Mentions in Ramayana
Lord Rama’s tale serves as another historical example of the significance of Chhath Puja. At the time of their coronation after returning to Ayodhya following a 14-year exile, it is thought that Lord Rama and Mata Sita conducted a joint fast and performed puja for Lord Surya in the Shukla Paksha month of Kartik (between October and December). Chhath Puja, which originated at that time, has now evolved into a significant Hindu festival. Hindu believers began celebrating it on the same day, in the same month, every year.
Chhath Puja has a long yogic and scientific heritage that extends back to the Vedic era. The ancient rishis employed this technique to stay alive without ingesting any sustenance from outside sources and were able to harness the energy of the sun. The practices of the Chhath Puja were used to accomplish this.
Day 1: Naha Kha/ NahayeKhaye (November 17, 2023)
Devotees refrain from eating on the first day of Chhath before having a bath, and then they make foods like chanekidaal, kheer, and kadduki sabzi, among others. The holy Ganga water is used by the worshippers to bathe, while Ganga Jal is used to purify the house’s surroundings (Water). They only consume one meal each day, a dish called Kaddu-Bhat, which is prepared using bronze or earthenware and a fire made of mango wood.
Day 2: Lohanda and Kharna (November 18, 2023)
As the Kharna puja progresses, the devotees observe a full-day fast, breaking it in the evening with Rasiao-kheer, puris, and fruits after worshipping the sun, God. After breaking their fast, they continue their 36-hour fast without water.
Day 3: PehlaArghya (November 19, 2023)
Devotees, among them most are women, follow a strict fast on the third day of Chhath, which is the hardest day. This day, which honours ChhathiMaiya, the consort of the Sun God, is celebrated by singing traditional songs and bathing in the Ganga, Kosi, and Karnali rivers till the sun sets.
At the riverbank, the devotees perform SanthyaArghya while wearing saris in the colour of turmeric. On this day’s evening, the devotee celebrates the colourful tradition of filling Kosi (KosiaBharai) by lighting clay diyas beneath the five sugarcane sticks while singing ChhathiMaiya folk songs. This sugarcane stick is a representation of the Buddha (Earth, Air, water, fire, and Space)
Day 4: Doosra Arghya/ Paaran (November 20, 2023)
The early morning offering, known as BihaniyaAragh, is made to the Sun God by the riverside on this, the last day of Chhath Puja, by devotees, family members, and friends (bank of the river). Finally, Chhath Puja Prasad is served as the devotees break their fast.
Stages of the Chhath Puja
Chhath Puja is accomplished in six steps of purity. First, cleanse the body and soul; second, stand in the water at the riverside during the araghya (Sanjhiya&Bihaniya), with half the body in the water and the other half out of it to reach the sushumna; Third- The Triveni Complex is the stage at which the organism can receive cosmic sun radiation; The Triveni Complex is activated in the fourth stage. In the fifth stage, the Kundalini Shakti is received by the Triveni Complex and the devotees are turned into cosmic powerhouses. The body recycles and transmits energy across the universe in the sixth and last stage of the soul and body purification process.
Q.1- What is Chhath Puja?
The historical home of the Chhath festival is the Indian subcontinent, more especially the Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Jharkhand, as well as the Nepalese provinces of Madhesh and Lumbini. During Chhath puja, prayers are offered to Surya, the solar deity, as a way of expressing thanks and gratitude for bringing life on earth and as a way of asking for specific wishes to be fulfilled.
Q.2- Why is Chhath puja celebrated?
The famous festival of Chhath begins on the sixth day of the Hindu month of Kartika. The Sun God and his wife Usha are worshipped at this festival. This festival is observed to thank the creator for sustaining life on earth and to ask the heavenly Sun deity and his wife for their blessing.
Q.3- Who celebrated Chhath puja first?
According to legend, Karna, the son of Lord Surya and Kunti, performed the Chhath puja event for the first time. AngaDesh, which is now known as Bhagalpur, Bihar, was ruled by Karna. This was one of the factors contributing to the festival’s predominance in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Q.4- Where Chhath puja is celebrated?
In Bihar, Jharkhand, and Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Chhath Puja is one of the most thankful celebrations. The rite known as “NahaiKhai” kicks off the four-day festival, which ends with “Usha Arghya” (prayers to the rising sun). Surya Bhagwaan (the Sun God), who is revered as the source of life on Earth, is the focus of the event.