New Delhi: The four-day long Chhath Puja festival begins from today and devotees are in a blissful state of mind. This year, the festivities will be observed till November 3, concluding with Saptami.
Since the most significant day falls on the sixth day of the month of Kartika, the festival is called Chhath. During Chhath Puja, women observe fast and pray to Sun (Surya Dev) god and Goddess Usha and Pratusha (Chhathi Maiya), seeking their blessings and praying for their wish fulfilment. It is believed that this is the only Vedic festival dedicated to the Sun God.
The festival is majorly celebrated in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and in parts of Nepal.
Here's how Chhath Puja is celebrated:
Women offer their prayers to Surya Devta to thank the Lord for sustaining life on Earth. Those observing the vrat or fast, known as the Parvaitin pray from the happiness, prosperity and wellbeing of their families.
Women who observe the fast on Chhath, perform various rituals while praying to the Sun God and Chhathi Maiya. Dressed in a bright coloured new saree, all decked-up with beautiful ornaments, the womenfolk take a dip in holy waters of Ganga or any other river nearby. They pray to the Surya Devta and greet each other.
Then they apply the orange vermillion on each other's forehead. The customary practices include holy bathing, fasting and performing the Arghya (offering prayers to the setting and the rising Sun).
They thank the Surya Dev and Goddess Usha for sustaining life on earth.
Then, the women who observe fast tilt a Kalash full of water downwards while facing the Sun God. They look at the Sun through the stream of water that flows from the Kalash. In a way, they offer the water to the Sun God. Sugar cane is mandatory during the festival.
Women light lamps with pure ghee and offer flowers and fruits to the Sun God. The prasad is including kheer, sweets, Thekua, rice laddos, fruits (sugarcane, sweet lime and banana) is offered in a small bamboo soop winnows.
The prasad is vegetarian and does not include onion, salt or garlic, ensuring that it is essentially pure. The festival concludes with the Usha Arghya on the fourth day (Saptami Tithi) according to the Hindu calendar) after prayers to Goddess Usha.
Here's wishing a very happy Chhath Puja to our readers!