31 October (Thursday)
Sunrise : 06:08
Sunset : 17:58
Chhath Puja is one of the most ancient Hindu festivals ever surviving on earth. Chhath Puja is referred to as the only Vedic festival celebrated in India.
Chhath Puja is observed for a period of four days during the month of Kartika. Chhath Puja ritual includes holy bathing, Vrat (fasts) and other holy severities. Chhath Puja is dedicated to Sun God, Surya. Devotees pay reverence to Lord Surya during Chhath Puja by bowing before the Sun. This is done to invoke the blessings of the powerful god. It is believed that Surya sustains life on earth. On Chhath Puja, Surya is expressed gratitude and he is worshiped for the fulfillment of certain desires. Chhath Puja is also known as Chhath Sashthi, Surya Shashti, Chhathi Maiya, and Chhath Parv.
As per the Hindu texts, Surya's energy is magnanimous. Therefore, Surya is believed to cure deadly diseases like leprosy, and increases a person's longevity.
The story associated with Chhath Puja are as follows:
It is believed that Draupadi was an ardent devotee of Lord Surya (the Sun god). Due to her devotion toward Surya, she was gifted with the unique power to cure even the most deadliest diseases. Draupadi possessed the energy that helped the Pandavas to regain the kingdom.
Similar to any other Hindu festival, the festival of Chhath has more than one legend linked with it. Let's take a look at some of its other known legends.
According to the legends, Karna, son of Surya observed Chhath Puja or Surya Shashti with sheer devotion. It is said that Karna had gained supreme powers by performing Chhath rituals. This had made Karna grow into a powerful and valiant warrior.
Chhath Puja is a festival that is celebrated over a period of four days. Let�s read about all these days, one by one.
Nahai means to bathe, and Khai means to eat. On the first day of Nahai Khai, devotees take a holy bath in a holy lake or river, to purify their sins. Then, they worship Lord Surya. Water from the holy river is carried to homes, which is later used in cooking food offerings for Surya.
On Kharna, devotees observe Vrat for a time-period of almost 8 to 12 hours. This fast includes abstaining from drinking water. Thus, the day of Kharna involves an anhydrous fast. People terminate the fast during evening after performing Surya Puja.
With the end of Surya Puja, Prasad (sacred food offering) is distributed among everyone.
Sandhya Arghya means evening offerings. On the third day of Chhath puja, devotees prepare food offerings.
The prepared food is offered to the setting Sun. The setting Sun is worshiped on Sandhya Argha. It is considered auspicious to invoke the blessings of Surya in dusk.
This is the last day of Chhath Puja. On the day of Suryodaya Argha, devotees reach to the banks of the rivers to offer to the rising Sun.
Once the morning offering is over, people terminate their fast by tasting ginger with sugar. The festival of Chhath Puja ends with the Suryodaya Argha, on the fourth day. The four days performed in severe austerities are believed to please Lord Surya.
Chhath songs are very famous in parts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh etc. People fill more enthusiasm to the festival of Chhat by singing Chhath songs. These traditional songs add a flavor of joy into the festival.
Chhath Puja is celebrated across regions like Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and parts of Bengal as well. The celebrations of Chhat Puja are not limited to our country, as it is also celebrated in countries like Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago etc.
Celebrate Chhath Puja in 2016 with enthusiasm and gusto. This is the perfect time to worship Lord Surya and gain the positive energy in order to eliminate all your negativities. Lord Surya will surely grant your wishes.