Chhath Puja festivities have begun across the nation. The four-day festival celebrated mostly by women in Bihar and Jharkhand falls on the sixth day of the Hindu month of Kartika and hence it is called Chhath. During this auspicious festival women observe fast and also offer their prayers to Chhati Maiyya or Goddess Usha (Goddess of Dawn).
Dressed in their best fineries and with vermilion adorning their face – right from the middle of their hair-parting to the tip of their nose, women offer prayers to the Sun God.
Women offer their prayers to Surya to thank the Lord for sustaining life on Earth. The customary practices of the puja are spread over four days and the rituals include holy bathing, fasting and performing the arghya (offering prayers to the setting and the rising Sun).
Here’s how the four day long festival is celebrated:
On the first day, women take a holy dip in a water body. This is called Nahay khay.
Kharna is observed on the second day. On this day, women observe fast and offer prayers to the Sun God. In the evening, kheer and other preparations are distributed among the family members.
On the third day, women prepare prashad and in the evening perform the Sandhya Arghya.
The festival concludes with the Usha Arghya on the fourth day after prayers to Goddess Usha are offered.
The sunrise and sunset symbolise the cycle of birth and death.