When is it Celebrated?
The four day festival of Chhath Puja falls right after the 5 day long festival of Diwali. Falling typically between the months of October and November, it is celebrated on the sixth day of Hindu month of Kartika. It is also celebrated during March-April time when it is known as Chaiti Chhath. However, the one falling right after Diwali is more popular.
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Where is it Celebrated?
This wonderful occasion dedicated to Sun God is most widely celebrated in the regions of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal by the Bihari communities. But, now-a-days we can see people indulging in this festival in almost every regions of the country especially in the areas where Bihari migrants have a presence. In Bihar, it is celebrated on the banks of River Ganga or at various Sun Temples. However, in other regions people gather around river banks to glorify this holy festival.
How is it Celebrated?
The Chhath Puja, which is also known as Dala Chhath, is a significant festival celebrated in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh ,Delhi,Mumbai and in many other states of India as well. The setting sun is worship in this puja. Chhath puja is celebrated most elaborately in Bihar and also in parts of Uttar
Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Assam, Orissa and even Mauritius, mostly amongst Bhojpuri and Maithali speaking people. The puja is being done since time immemorial with unvarying faith that the Sun God fulfills wishes if the ritual of ‘araghya’ is offered with complete devotion. The people also worship ‘Chhathi Maiya’ on this day.
The fasts, festivities and the local traditions are the main attraction along with this festival.
Day 1: Nahai Khai-
The first day is known as “Nahai Khai” which means Bath & Eat. The “Vrati” or devotees take bath in the sacred river Ganga and take back the holy water to cook offerings (Prasad) at home.
Day 2: Kharna-
On the second a complete day fast without water is observed by the devotees. They end their fast after doing the puja in the evening. Offerings or Prasad includes puris (deep-fried puffs of wheat flour) or Rasiao-kheer (rice delicacy). Chapattis and bananas are distributed among family, friends and visitors.
Day 3: Sandhya Arghya or Evening Offering-
The third day is also observed with fast without consuming water. The entire day is spent in preparing puja offerings which are made and kept in a tray made out of bamboo. The offerings include Thekua, coconut, banana and other seasonal fruits. The evening rituals are done at the banks of a river or pond or any clean water body. All the devotees assemble and the ‘araghya’ is offered to the setting Sun.
Day 4: Bihaniya Arghya or Morning offerings-
As the last day of the auspicious puja, devotees again assemble on the bank of a river or pond to present offerings to the rising Sun. After the offerings are made, devotees break their fast by either eating ginger and sugar or whatever their local tradition holds.