Chhath Puja Rituals
Chhath puja is celebrated 6 days after Diwali on sukhla paksha sasthi of Kartik month. It is an important festival of Bihar; and also observed in Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal as well as the Madhesh region of Nepal. Lets know about the rituals to be performed on 4 days of chhath puja.
How to Do Chhath Puja?
The Puja Ceremonies and rituals of this festival are begun on Nahay khay - the first day of Chhath. People gather on the Chhath Ghats 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
Chhath Puja begins from the Nahay-Khay. After bathing in the morning,
the vrati women clean the grain for the puja material and dry it by covering it
in the sun. Cleanliness is taken care of during washing and drying of grains.
After this, women take bath once again. From this day, not only the vrati women
but also their families start taking satvik food. Kaddu Bhaat along with Channa
dal is a common preparation on this day and it is cooked by using mud or
bronze utensils and mango wood over a mud stove. After worshiping, all the
observers are eaten only once on a day. After eating the food sometime
mid-noon, vrati starts the
waterless-fast which is broken only the next day evening while observing
'Kharna' the second day of Chhath Puja.
- 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: Kharna
day of Chhath puja is known as Kharna. On Kharna, devotees observe Vrat for a
time period of almost 8 to 12 hours. On this day devotees keeps fast for whole
day and break their fast in the evening after sunset after the worship of Sun.
People terminate the fast during evening after performing Surya Puja. They
offer Rasiao-kheer, puris, fruits in the puja.
- 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
The third day of Chhath puja rituals is known as Sandhya Arghya. On this day, after
preparing the prasad, devotees take a dip in the holy water body in the evening
and worship the Sun god and chhathi maiya. They offer the evening offerings amid
- 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 Ghats, 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.
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