Chhath Puja 2017 - Chhath Pooja
Chhath Pooja is an auspicious festival celebrated all over India enthusiastically. Traditional way of celebrating this festival is unique and highly attractive. People present their gratitude towards the Hindu lord Sun for his blessings via this festival. Importantly, it is the only festival in country that honors the cycle of life.
Chhath Puja 2017 will be celebrated from October 24th to October 27th. "Chhath Puja" is one of the most notable festival in Indian culture or Hinduism and is considered to be a very auspicious festival. It is celebrated mainly in Bihar, Jharkhand and Eastern UP regions. Additionally, people from North-East India, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Delhi and Mumbai also celebrate this festival.
Significance of Chhath Pooja
The selected day for performing Chhath Puja is the sixth day of the month Kartika, according to the Hindu Calendar. Kartik month usually falls in the month of October or November as per Gregorian Calendar.
The rituals of Chhath Pooja continues till four days and is dedicated purely to Hindu God Sun, also known as "Surya". The enthusiasm shown by the people during the Chhath Puja is worth experiencing. It is said that along with Sun, a goddess named Chhathi Maiya is also worshipped by the medium of Chhath Pooja. The very main purpose of this puja is to thank Surya for sustaining life on Earth and blessing people with his kindness. The sun, considered as the god of energy is believed to bestow all humans with progress, inner peace, prosperity and good health. The Sun is worshipped by the people with a deep belief that it may help in curing variety of skin diseases such as leprosy.
Chhath pooja is significant in number of ways. Rituals related to this festival are carried out with utter dedication and devotion by the people to show their sincerity toward lord Surya.
Rituals of Chhath Puja
The four days of the Chhath Puja contain different rituals and customs that are to be taken care of genuinely. According to the rituals of the Chhath Puja, the devotees are supposed to present their gratitude to the settling and the rising Sun to honor and celebrate life cycle. During the period of Chhath Puja, the worshippers sleep only on the floor on a single blanket and the food that is cooked is strictly vegetarian. The four days have their names on the basis of the rituals performed that day. Each day signifies purity of heart and the devotion of people, which is tremendously appreciable.
Day 1 of Chhath Puja: Nahai Khai
The worshippers take a dip in the holy river Ganga or even in other water bodies as possible at the time of absolute sunrise on the first day of the Chhath Pooja. The devotees also take back some holy water to their homes to prepare the things that are to be offered to God. Therefore, due to the functions like dipping in water and cooking food with that water, the day one has been named as Nahay Khay which literally means Bathing and Eating.
Day 2 of Chhath Puja: Kharna
This is the day just before the actual day of Chhath Puja and the devotees observe a full day fast on this very day. To complete the ritual of the fast, devotees eat food a little after the sunset after worshipping Earth. Special Prasad that includes kheer and puris is prepared to be distributed among the family members and friends. From this day itself, a fast for continuous 36 hours begins. A very special thing is that it is a fast without food and water both and it must be carried with complete honesty.
Day 3 of Chhath Puja: Chhath
Day 3 of the Chhath Puja is the most essential day in the entire process of Chhath Pooja and thus it is named as Chhath. On this day, the offerings or say Prasad made by the devotees is presented to the settling sun followed by some regional folk songs and celebrations in different forms. The Chhath puja is performed with great zeal and all the people gather together on river bank or any other water body to happily receive the blessings of lord Sun. An event at the end of day 3 named Kosi also takes place which includes keeping of lighted earthen under the canopy of sugar cane sticks.
Day 4 of Chhath Puja: Paarun
The last day of the Chhath Puja is dedicated to the rising sun which means the offerings are made to the rising sun on this last day. In order to be specific with the rising sun time, the worshippers along with their families gather at the riverbank even before the sun actually rises. At the end, this beautiful festival ends gracefully with the breaking of the fast kept by devotees in a traditional way i.e. by receiving Prasad.
History of Chhath Puja
India being a home to variety of cultures and religions witnesses different kind of festivals every year. Each festival has its own importance and a story related from the ancient time. It is said and believed that Chhath Puja was originated by Shakya Dwipi Brahmins, as they were expert in worshiping Sun. It is in existence before the time of vedas, as some of the vedas consist of beautiful description of people celebrating this occasion.
Essence of Chhath Puja
Chhath Pooja is celebrated as the main festival in some regions of the country. Chhath Pooja allows people to be free of burden of their work and devoted themselves in the service of the almighty that provide inner peace to the people. Chhath Pooja is a perfect blend of traditions, purity of heart and soul purification. Celebrating Chhath puja or being a part of this celebration can prove to be an experience of lifetime.