Chhath Puja is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival that is celebrated with spiritual fervour and gusto. It is a four-day-long festival. This festival is dedicated to the Sun God- Surya and his sister, Chhathi Maiya. This festival is celebrated to show gratitude to Surya Dev or Sun God and seek blessings. The Chhath Puja 2020 will be celebrated from 18th November 2020 to 21st November 2020, with Shasthi (main day), falling on 20th November 2020.
Chhath Puja: Significance
The origin of the auspicious festival of Chhath Puja can be traced back to the Rig Veda age. The holy scriptures contain hymns worshipping the divine Sun God. As per popular beliefs, worshipping the Sun God on Chhath Puja has an array of spiritual and health benefits. The Sun God has been honoured with the rank of the King in the Navagrahas. The Sun God is considered the creator of life on Earth. Additionally, the divine Sun God takes care of all his subjects by spreading the divine light on them. It is this light that makes life possible on Earth. Thus, the Chhath festival is celebrated to show gratitude to the Sun God and pray for blessings.
Besides the principal reason for showing gratitude and worshipping the Sun God, every devotee has their reason for performing the Chhath Puja and fasting. It is commonly believed that Sun God’s grace can be quite beneficial for our health. It is believed that worshipping the Sun God can cure diseases and ensure longevity to the devotees and their families. There is also a belief that by worshipping Sun God on Chhath Puja, you can make Chhath Maiya happy, and she will bestow you and your family with peace and wealth. Sun God’s grace will also ensure that your home never faces any shortage of money and grains. People also believe that Chhath Maiya blesses families with children. Devotees also do this Puja to seek the well-being and prosperity of their family. Moreover, this fast and Puja can fulfill your dearest wishes.
Chhath Puja is also called Surya Shashti, Chhathi, and Dala Chhath. This pious festival is celebrated with much passion and spiritual zeal throughout Bihar, Jharkhand, some parts of Uttar Pradesh, and the Terai region of Nepal. It is also celebrated in adjoining states like Bengal, Orissa, and Delhi. These days, Chhath Puja is celebrated in various other parts of India, where people from the aforementioned areas have settled in large numbers and built a life. But, one cannot deny that there is a different kind of enthusiasm for this festival in Bihar.
When is Chhath Puja Celebrated?
Traditionally, the festival of Chhath Puja is celebrated twice a year. This occasion is celebrated on Kartik Shukla Shashthi as well as Chaitra Shukla Shashti dates. However, the Chhath festival celebrated on Kartik Shukla Shashti is often considered to have special significance. On both these occasions, the ritual of worshipping Sun God remains the same. The Chhath festival, which graces us with its presence after the festival of Diwali, falls on Kartik Shukla Shashti. This is the sixth day of ‘Kartik’ month in the ‘Vikram Samvat’ Calendar. As the festival is celebrated on the sixth day of the month of Kartika, this festival is called ‘Chhath’ as this word means 6 in Hindi.
Legends Associated With Chhath Puja
Predominantly, two legends are associated with the Chhath festival. One dates back to the Ramayana and one to Mahabharata.
Believed to be a descendent of the Sun God, Lord Rama is thought to be the one behind the inception of Chhath Puja, according to some. When Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after his exile, he, along with Goddess Sita, observed a fast in honor of the Sun God. They broke the fast at the break of dawn on the next day. This ritual later came to be known as Chhath Puja.
The prominent and well-known mythological character, Karna, is believed to be the son of the Sun God and Kunti. It is said that Karna used to religiously offer his prayers to the Sun God while standing in the water. He would also distribute Prasad among the poor and needy. Devotees continue this tradition even today. Another Mahabharata story is also linked to this auspicious occasion. It is believed that Draupadi and the Pandavas performed a similar Puja to win their kingdom back from the Kauravas.
Chhath Puja Rituals
Chhath Puja is celebrated with complete devotion and reverence. The Chhath Puja Vidhi or rituals can be physically quite demanding. The festival encourages abstinence from food and water. It also includes bathing and standing in knee-deep water for long durations while offering Prasad and arghya to the rising and setting Sun.
Let’s take a look at the four important days of this occasion.
Day 1- Nahay Khay
This is the first day. Although the festival of Chhath Puja is celebrated on Kartik Shukla Shashthi, it starts with Nahay Khay on Kartik Shukla Chaturthi. On this day, devotees take a dip in a holy water body and fast all day. On the first day, female devotees observing the fast can have only one meal the whole day. The meal should be vegetarian and home-cooked.
Day 2- Lohanda and Kharna
A fast has to be maintained for the entire day. The fast should only be broken after Sunset with Prasad, which is popularly Kheer made of jaggery and Chapati or Puris, after offering it to the divine Sun God first. After ending this fast, another one begins, which is to be observed for the next 36 hours. In that fast, the devotees do not drink even drink a sip of water.
Day 3- Sandhya Arghya / Pehla Arghya (Evening offerings)
This is the toughest day of the fast, as the devotees neither consume any food nor drink water for the entire day. This holy day is dedicated to Chhathi Maiya. At Sunset, the womenfolk of the house are accompanied by their whole family to offer 'Sandhya Arghya'. Prasad is prepared and taken to the holy water bodies to offer to the setting sun. Women usually wear yellow coloured sarees while performing this ritual.
Day 4- Usha Arghya / Doosra Arghya (Morning Offerings)
On the very last day of the festival, devotees gather at the riverbank early in the morning. They make offerings to the rising Sun. This is when the devotees end their 36-hour fast, which marks the culmination of the four-day-long festival. The devotees share Prasad. After this, people get together with their families to enjoy a feast.
Chhath Puja Samagri
Given below are the list consisting of the main Chhath Puja samagri.
Two or three big baskets made of bamboo to keep the Prasad (offerings).
Three Soop made of bamboo or brass, Lota, Thali, Milk, and a glass for water.
New clothes such as saree, kurta, and pajamas.
Rice, vermillion (red sindoor), incense sticks, and a big deepak (lamp)
A coconut that has water in it, and sugarcane with leaf
Sweet Potato and yam
Turmeric and ginger plants. It’s better if it is green.
Sweet lemon (tab) and pear
Honey, betel leaf (paan) and whole betel nuts
Camphor, Kumkum, Sandalwood, and sweets
Along with this, thekua, malpua, kheer-puri, dates, halwa made with semolina, rice laddu, which is also known as ladua, etc., are offered as Prasad.
Chhath Puja Date and Time
The auspicious time for Chhath Puja 2020 is given below-
18th November 2020 (Wednesday)
Sunrise- 06:46 AM
Sunset- 05:26 PM
2. Lohanda and Kharna
19th November 2020 (Thursday)
Sunrise at 06:47 AM
Sunset at 05:26 PM
3. Sandhya Arghya
20th November 2020 (Friday)
Sunrise- 06:48 AM
Sunset- 05:26 PM
4. Suryodaya/Usha Arghya and Paran
21st November 2020 (Saturday)
Sunrise- 06:49 AM
Sunset- 05:25 PM
If you want to know more about how to celebrate Chhath Puja or the auspicious muhurat (time), reach out to the expert astrologers at Astroyogi.