Darshan Rana
Darshan Rana
Wednesday 25 Oct 17 05:53:31 PM
Let’s Celebrate Chhath!
Let’s Celebrate Chhath!

After Diwali, there is bigger day for North Indians on Chhath. Yes, Chhath Pooja is four-day festival observer elaborately in Bihar and Jharkhand on the sixth day of the lunar month after Deepavali every year.

It is also called Surya Shashti. Today, it is celebrated in all the areas where the migrants from Bihar and Jharkhand have a presence.

Chhath or Chhath Pooja is a way to be grateful to the Sun for giving the bounties of life on earth and for the fulfilment of wishes of believers. Sun worship is believed to help cure a number of diseases and ensures longevity and prosperity of family members, friends, and elders. The four days of Chhath Puja are:

Day 1, Nahay Khay: On the first day of Chhath Puja, devotees take a dip, preferably in the river Ganga and carry home the holy water to prepare the offerings to be made to Surya. The women of the house observe vrata or fast — they are called vratin — allowing themselves only one meal on this day.

Day 2, Kharna: On Panchami, the day before Chhath, the vratins observe a fast for the whole day, which ends in the evening, a little after sunset. Just after the worship of the Sun, the offerings of rasiao-kheer, puris and bananas, are distributed among  family and friends. The next 36 hours, the vratins go on a fast without water.

Day 3, Sanjhiya Arghya: The day is spent preparing the prasad or offerings, at home. On the eve of this day, the entire household accompanies the vratins to a riverbank or a common large water body to make the arghya, also called offerings to the setting sun.

It is during this phase of Chhath Puja that the devotees offer prayers to the setting sun. The occasion is almost a carnival. The folksongs sung on the evening of Chhath reflect the culture, social structure, mythology and history of Bihar and Jharkhand. The three main linguistic regions of Bihar — the Maithili, Magadhi, and the Bhojpuri — and all the various dialects associated with these, have different folksongs, but have an underlying unity in their dedication to Chhath.

Day 4, Bihaniya Arghya: On the final day of Chhath, people go to the riverbank before sunrise, in order to make offerings to the rising sun. The festival ends with the breaking of the fast by the vratins. Friends visit the homes of the vratins to receive the prasad. Partaking of the prasad is so important that even a millionaire will beg for it at the Chhath ghat. This symbolises that everybody is a beggar in front of the Almighty.

(Courtesy: Gyan Rajhans)