Chhath Puja is one of the most auspicious Puja which is done to please Lord Surya (Sun). Chhath Puja is held for four days during which Lord Surya is worshipped with utmost sincerity and loyalty. During this Puja, most of the devotees observe a Chhath Puja Fast which is basically observed by the women. The Chhath Puja Fast is observed to gain blessings from Lord Surya for the well being of the family. Chhath Puja tradition is mainly observed in the state of Bihar, Jharkhand, U.P. and in some parts of Nepal as well.
WHEN IS CHHATH PUJA 2017?
24th October 2017 - Tuesday - Nahay Khay - Chaturthi
25th October 2017 - Wednesday - Lohanda and Kharna - Panchami
26th October 2017 - Thursday - Sandhya Arghya - Shashthi
27th October 2017 - Friday - Usha Arghya, Parana Day - Saptami
Chhath Puja is observed twice in a year, i.e. once during the summer time and once during the winters. The name of the festival ‘Chhath Puja’ is given because of the day it is observed on. ‘Chhath’ means ‘the sixth day’ & as per the Hindu Calendar, it is first observed on the sixth day after the festival of Holi during the Chaitra month. This Chhath Puja is also known by the name of Chaiti Chhath and Surya Puja.
The second Chhath Puja falls on the sixth day of Kartik month, which falls after Diwali. This Chhath Puja is also called as Kartik Chhath. Kartik Chhath Puja, is observed with grand celebrations by the devotees. The festival of Kartik Chhath is celebrated with electrifying enthusiasm and devotion.
Chhath Puja is known by different names in various states. The differences in the name appear because of the different languages followed in these states. Chhath Parva, Dala Chhath, Surya Shashti, Chhath Mahaparv, Dala Puja and Surya Puja are few of the many names given to Chhath Puja. The names can differ according to the states, but the motive and feelings of this festivity remain the same throughout the nation.
Also See Indian Holiday Calendar
Chhath Puja is executed to honor Lord Surya, where reverence is paid to the Sun. It is said that Chhath Parva is one of the most difficult Parva in the Hindu faith. The festival is observed for four days and devotees observe a strict Chhath Puja fast during the festivity. Mostly devotees observe a Nirjala Vrat (a fast done without consuming water and food) for a duration of two days.
IMPORTANCE OF CHHATH PUJA
The importance of Chhath Puja can be determined with the enthusiasm of devotees. It is observed to show gratitude to Lord Surya for giving us life on Earth. Surya Shashti is another popular name given to Chhath Puja. It is thought that by performing Surya Puja (by worshipping the Sun), one can reduce the feeling of anger, ego, jealousy and negative feelings from their mind & soul.
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Mounting and setting of the Sun plays a vital part in channelizing the life cycle. Apart from stimulating the normal sunlight from the Sun, it also provides us with Solar energy which is very important to us for our survival. It is recognized that the Sun improves the activity of the white blood cells. Sun is known to be the greatest source of Vitamin D which assists an individual in gaining strengths in the bones.
FOUR IMPORTANT DAYS OF CHHATH PUJA
As we all know, Chhath Puja is a four day long festival with every day having its own importance. Let us see some facts about these four days in detail:
DAY 1 - NAHAI KHAI
Name given to the beginning day of Chhath Puja is ‘Nahai Khai’ or Dala Chhath Vrat. The word ‘Nahai’ means bathing and ‘Khai’ means eating. The devotees are supposed to get a bath in Ganga or Yamuna & holy water is brought back home from these rivers. After the morning bath devotees prepare food on fresh earthen ovens made brick and osid with mango wood. The preparation is known as Lauki Bhat. This preparation is offered as Prasad to Lord Surya.
DAY 2 - KHARNA
‘Kharna’ is the name given to the second day of Chhath Puja. Gur(Jaggery) ki Kheer, Kaddu-Bhaat, and Thekua–Gujiya are prepared on this day. On this day, devotees observe a day-long fast. The fast is concluded with performing Surya Pooja in the evening. After the Surya Puja, Rasiao-kheer, puris, fruits offered to Lord Surya are distributed amongst everyone. After taking a meal in the evening, the devotees observe a fast without water for the next 36 hours which ends on the third day.
DAY 3 - SANDHYA ARGHYA
‘Sandhya Arghya’ is the third day of Chhath Puja. On this day, the devotees observe a nirjala fast i.e. they do not even consume water during till the morning of the fourth day. Devotees offer offering water or milk to setting Sun and this offering is considered as important and sacred. Special preparations are done for the day by the devotees to perform the evening ritual.
DAY 4 - PARANA
Usha Arghya or Parana Day is the most popular name given to the fourth day of Chhath Puja. devotees end the 36 hours long nirjala vrat on the morning of the fourth day by offering Milk or water to the rising Sun. This is known as Bihaniya. After performing this ritual, the fast is broken by eating sugar and ginger. This ritual marks the final stage of the four days long Mahaparva of Chhath Puja.
CHHATH PUJA RULES AND REGULATIONS
A special set of Puja rituals is followed during the Chhath Puja. Let us get some facts straight:
During the Chhath Puja Fast, one should take proper care of cleanliness and hygiene.
The rituals of Chhath Puja can only be executed by a married woman.
It is a ritual to sleep on the floor at the night by men and women of the house.
The utensils should be properly cleaned before being used for Puja Prasad.
For maintaining proper hygiene, a temporary kitchen is put inside the house during the Chhath Puja.
Thekua (Regional sweet dish) is prepared at home during the festivity.
Special rituals are followed by married women such as they cannot eat food cooked by themselves and cannot even wear stitched clothes.
These rituals should be followed thoroughly during the Chhath Puja. mPanchang allows you seek detailed information on Festivals & Vrat. We wish you a Happy Chhath Puja 2017.
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