Chhath Puja, an extrusive “Vrat” of Northern India signifies perseverance and spiritual purity. This festival is dedicated to Sun God and hence is also known as Surya Shashti. Celebrated elaborately by the people of Eastern UP, Bihar and Jharkhand; the festival is observed to worship Surya Devta to promote progress, well-being and prosperity.
Beej Mantra for Lord Surya
ॐ ह्रां ह्रीं ह्रौं सः सूर्याय नमः ॥
"Om Hraam Hreem Hraum Sah Suryay Namah
Four Days Of The Vrat
People believe that observing Chhath Vrat would fulfill their wishes and desires. The rituals Chhath Puja goes on for four days. Each day is dedicated for a different ritual.
Nahai Khai - The first day is known as Nahai Khai (Bath & Eat). Devotees take bath in Ganga and bring the Holy water to cook Prasad (offerings) at home.
Kharna – This is the second day when whole day fast is observed by the devotees. The fast ends in the evening after performing Puja and rituals. Prasad prepared comprises Kheer, Puris and bananas that are distributed among all.
Sandhya Arghya – Devotees observe fast on third day also. They prepare the offerings and keep them in bamboo tray. Offerings comprises of Thekua (dry sweet), banana, coconut and fruits.
Sandhya Arghya (evening offering) is performed at the banks of river. Devotees offer Arghya to the setting Sun.
‘Kosi’ – Kosi is celebrated on the same day, at the courtyard of the house after the evening offerings. Diyas are lit and kept under the covering of sugarcane sticks (5 or 24 sticks as per the tradition).
Bihaniya Arghya – This is known as the morning offering and is the last and final event of the Chhath puja. Devotees assemble on the bank of river to offer Arghyam (offerings) to the rising Sun. After making offerings, they break their fast.
Click here for Chhath Puja Songs- Chhath Songs
A Joyous & Colourful Festival
On this festival, people wear their best clothes and sing devotional folk at home and on the river banks. Thousands of devotees gather at the banks of rivers to celebrate Chhath. They keep the Prasad in baskets made of bamboo. Pure food with salt, onion and garlic is made.
It is believed that once a family starts observing Chhath Puja, it should be continued by its following generations.