The four-day long festival of Chhath has begun across the country. The festival dedicated to the Sun God and Chhati Maiyya is celebrated by women who hail from the states of Bihar and Jharkhand.
The actual day of the festival (the third day or Chhath Puja) falls on the sixth day of the Hindu month of Kartik and hence it is called Chhath. Women observe fast during the festival and perform various rituals while offering their prayers.
Dressed in saree embellished with heavy ornamentation, women take a dip in the Ganga or any other Holy river. They greet each other and apply vermillion on each other's forehead.
Women offer their prayers to Surya to thank the Lord for sustaining life on Earth. The customary practices include holy bathing, fasting and performing the Arghya (offering prayers to the setting and the rising Sun).
The main day of the festival includes Chhath Pujan and Sandhya Arghya on Shashti. This year, it will be celebrated on November 13.
On the third day of the four-day-long festival, women prepare Prashad and in the evening perform the Sandhya Arghya.
As per drikpanchang.com, the important timings are
Sunrise at 6:39 AM.
Sunset at 5:31 PM.
The festival concludes with the Usha Arghya on the fourth day (Saptami Tithi) according to the Hindu calendar) after prayers to Goddess Usha.
As per drikpanchang.com, the important timings are:
Sunrise at 6:40 AM
Sunset at 5:31 PM.
Dressed in fresh unstitched clothes/saree, 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.
Sugar cane is mandatory during the festival.
Women light lamps with pure ghee and offer flowers and fruits to the Sun God.
The sunrise and the sunset timings are constant reminders of the inevitable cycle of birth and death.