Chhath Puja Rituals
Chhath Puja, the historic and archaic festival is basically celebrated in the North- Indian states of India. This festival is triumphed with great sovereignty and enthusiasm and is dedicated to Lord Surya- Sun God and Chhathi Maya( Lord Sun’s Wife). The mythology related to Chhath Puja was briefed in ‘Mahabharat’, and Ramayan and legends say that It was first celebrated by Draupadi and Pandavas to reconquer their Kingdom.
The Puja Ceremonies and rituals of this festival are begun on the 6th day of ‘Kartik month as per the Hindu Schedule. People gather on the bank of the banks of the river- Ganga to express their gratitude and devotion towards the Lord- Surya. People come a long way before sunrise one day before the celebration and take a both to rouse themselves in its pious water. They perform various rituals and customs by offering water to Sun as this celebration is a thanksgiving celebration which is fundamentally wholehearted to the SUN God-Lord Surya.
The First day of Chhath Puja: Nahay Khay
- People first brush their teeth with mango twigs.
- Then they go to a holy water body like river Ganga and take a bath.
- Some of the holy water is brought home.
- With that water, Prasad for Lord Surya is prepared.
- In the entire day people eat only before Surya udaya in the morning.
- After having food water is consumed only once.
- This fast is observed for 36 hours from then.
- The fast does not even permit water hence is known as ‘Nirjal’.
The Second Day of Chhath Puja is known as Kharna.
- The fasting continues this day till it completes 36 Hours.
- In the evening Chati Maiyya is worshipped.
- The Prasad from the puja is consumed to break the fast.
- The Prasad prepared is usually Puri and Gud ka Kheer.
- Salt is not at all consumed on this day.
The Third day of Chhath puja: Sandhya Arghya
- This day basically observes the worship of the Sun in the morning when it rises. It is also known Bihaniya or Bhorwa Ghat (Morning Arghya).
- On the early morning devotees along with their family and friends offer Bihaniya Aragh at the ghat of riverbank of Ganga or any other holy water body.
- This is the last or you can say the final day of this auspicious festival.
- The devotees gather at the bank of the river with their family and friends to offer bhorwa arghya to the rising Sun.
- Devotees also worship Chatti Maiyya, distribute thekua and then return home.
- The people who were fasting break the fast by taking the blessings of the elders and then eating ginger with water.
- The other Prasad prepared are then consumed by them.
- This is the most important part of the ritual. During the festival, the female folks spend their night by singing traditional Chhath songs.
- There is also a tradition of “Dandwat Pranam” during Chhath Puja. People who have wished or wish to succeed in something, take an oath to go to the Chhath Ghat by lying and saluting on the ground in simple cloth. With the help of a “Kanda” a type of stick easily found in locality or in fields, the devotee draws a round line by lying on the ground with the help of stomach and stretching both hands in “Pranaam Mudra”. After arriving on the Ghat after “Dand” the devotee takes a bath in the holy river and worships Chatti Maiyya.
The Fourth day of Chhath Puja: Usha Arghya
The fast come to end after offering argha and Surya Namaskar to the rising sun. Everybody comes together to have Prasad and family bonds and feels rooted more than ever. The most auspicious part of the ritual is to prepare delicacies for the ‘Vrattis’ (devotees that fast) and the female folks spend their whole night by singing traditional Chhath songs, during the fourth day of the festival like-
- Kelawa jey farela ghawad sey… oh par sooga mandaraaye
- Paisee jagawe suruj mal ke amma
- Hey uditanaatha…ho gelo bihaan...
- Roonki jhunki beti maangila padhala pandita damaad hey Chhathi maiya.....
- Bhaiya mora jaayela mahanga moonger.....
- Saama khele chalaali… bhouji sang saheli ho.....
- Kaachi kaachi baans ke bahangiya…bahangi lachkat jaye
Devotees reach on the Ghats along with their family members and relatives on the final day and offer bhorwa arghya (morning offerings) to the rising Sun. At the Ghata, Devotees bend down on their knees to worship Chaithhi Maya after Arghya (Offerings). They also distribute Thekua and then break their fasts after reaching home.