The Hindu festival devoted exclusively to the Sun God, Surya -- Surya Chhath, also called Dala Chhath and Suryashashthi -- is celebrated with much passion and religious fervour throughout Bihar, Jharkhand, parts of Uttar Pradesh, and the Terai areas of Nepal.
The origin of Chhath Puja can be traced back to the age of the Rig-Veda. The holy scriptures contain hymns worshipping the Sun god and describe comparable rituals.
Chhath is the only occasion when the setting sun -- the deity of energy and of the life-force - is feted for its glory as the cycle of birth begins with death. The Chhath Puja is performed to express gratitude and to thank the God for supporting and nurturing life on earth, and to request the granting of specific boons.
People worship the Sun god for well-being, affluence and progress. Worshipping the Sun God is also believed to help heal several diseases, such as leprosy. It is believed that worshipping the Sun God ensures longevity and prosperity of near and dear ones.
The Ritual of Chhath Puja
Chhath Puja continues for four days. Its rituals are pretty demanding physically. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vratta), standing knee deep in water for long durations, and offering Prashad (prayer offerings) and aghrya or Soop to the setting and rising sun. The Arghya consists of, among others, flowers, fruits, dry coconut, sugarcane, sprouted grains, white radish, khajurees and sweets.
Chhat Puja 2017 Dates
This year Chhath Puja begins on October 24 and will continue till October 27. The main puja will be observed on October 26.