Chhath Puja- The most eco-friendly festival of the world

Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja is an ancient hindu festival celebrated in India. This festival is dedicated to Lord Surya. Chhath Puja is the most eco-friendly festival in the world. It is the only festival in which the sun is worshiped during sunset. In this festival Chhathi Maiya is worshiped who is the sixth avatar of Devi Prakriti and the sister of Lord Surya. It is said that Chhathi Maiya protects children from diseases and problems and gives them long lives and good health. Parvatin (Devotee) does a vrat (fast) for 36 hours during Chhath puja. 

Chhath is celebrated 6 days after Deepawali. It is most widely celebrated in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Traditions of Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja lasts for four days. It starts with Kartik Shukla Chaturthi and ends with Kartik Shukla Saptami. Chhath is celebrated twice in a year. 

The first day of Chhath is called Nahay Khay.

The second day of Chhath is called Kharna

The third day of Chhath is called Sanjhka Arghya.

The Fourth day of Chhath is called Bhorka Arghya.

First day of Chhath Puja (Nahay Khay)

Nahaay Khay of Chhath Puja

The First day of Chhath is called Nahay Khay. On this day the Parvaitin (Devotee) take a sacred bath after which the entire house, its surroundings are cleaned. After that the Parvatin cooks Satvik Lauka Bhaat which is served to the deity as Bhog in the afternoon. This is the last meal of the Parvatin during Chhath Puja. After that the 36 hours of vrat (fast) begins.

Second Day of Chhath (Kharna)

Kharna of Chhath Puja

The second day of Chhath is Kharna which is also known as Rasiaav-Roti or Lohanda. On this day the devotee keeps a Nirjala vrat meaning that they do not drink even a single drop of water.

At the end of the day (evening) devotees eat gur ke kheer or Raisaav with Roti.

Third day of Chhath (Sanjhka Aragh)

Sanjhka Arghya of Chhath Puja

The Third day is spent in making the prasad which is thekua, laddu etc. The devotee put the prasad in the bamboo basket. All the members of the family should take a bath before they went to the riverbank, pond, or other large body of water to make the Arghya. One family member holds the bamboo basket on his head and walks barefoot to the site of Arghya. Beside the devotee and family members even the onlookers will help the devotee to receive the blessing of the worshiper.

At the time of Arghya, jal (water) is offered to Lord Surya and Chhathi Maiya. After Arghya, chhath geet (songs) are sung and Vrat Katha is read. Then, they return to their respective homes to perform the ritual of kosi bharai together with the other family members.

Kosi Bharai 

Kosi Bharai

In this ritual, devotees take 5 to 7 sugarcanes and tie them together to form a mandap. Under the mandap, devotees light 12 to 24 Diya lamps. Along with the lamps they put other offerings like thekua and seasonal fruits.

Fourth day of Chhath (Bhorka Argha)

Bhorka Arghya of Chhath Puja

This is the last day of chhath puja in which devotees have to go to the riverbank to offer an arghya to the rising sun. After that, devotees drink water and eat some prasad in order to end their fast. This is called Parana.

History of Chhath Puja

As per legends, Chhath Puja stems from the early Vedic period, where sages would fast for days and perform the puja with mantras from Rigveda. 

According to a famous legend, Mata Sita performed the Chhath festival in Munger.On this day Rama and Sita kept fast and Surya Shashthi/Chhath Puja was performed by Sita. Hence, she was blessed with Lava and Kush as their sons. It was only after this event that the Chhath festival started. That is why Chhath Mahaparv is celebrated with great pomp in Munger and Begusarai. Sitacharan temple, situated on a boulder in the middle of the Ganges in Munger, is the main center of public faith regarding Chhath festival. 

While in the Mahabharata, It is believed that Karna, the son of Surya and Kunti, was born after Kunti performed Chhath puja. 

Draupadi is also said to perform the Puja for Pandavas to win the Kurukshetra War.

Story of Chhath Puja

According to the legend, King Priyavrat, son of First Manu Swayambhu, was very sad because he had no children. Maharishi Kashyap asked him to do a yajna. 

According to Maharishis orders, he performed a yajna for a son. After this, Queen Malini gave birth to a son, but unfortunately the baby was born dead.

The king and his family were very sad because of this. Then Mata Shashthi revealed herself in the sky. When the king prayed to her, she spoke, saying: “I am Chhathi Maiya the Sixth form of Devi Parvati. I protect all the children of the world and give the blessings of children to all childless parents.” After this, the Goddess blessed the lifeless child with her hands, so that he came to life.

The king was very thankful for the grace of the Goddess and he worshiped the goddess Shashthi Devi. It is believed that after this puja, this festival became a worldwide celebration.

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