Chhath Puja 2022: Date, History, Story, Significance, Tradition & More

Chhath, the ancient Hindu festival dedicated to the solar deity, Surya, to show gratitude and thankfulness for bestowing the bounties of life on earth is on the calendar. Read to know all about the Chhath Mahaparv.
Happy Chhath Puja 2022
Happy Chhath Puja 2022

Chhath is an ancient Hindu festival that originated in the Indian subcontinent, specifically in the Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Jharkhand, as well as the Nepalese provinces of Madhesh and Lumbini. The Goddess of the festival is Chhathi Maiya, the sixth form of Devi Prakriti and Lord Surya's sister. Vikram Samvat is observed six days after Deepavali, on the sixth day of the lunar month of Kartika (October-November) in the Hindu calendar. Environmentalists claim that the Chhath festival is one of the most environmentally friendly religious events in the world.

This year the auspicious festival will be celebrated from 28th October to 31st October. Continue reading this article to get an insight into the history, significance, and traditions of Chhath Puja

History 

Chhath Puja holds great importance in ancient history. And the five most important stories related to Chhhath Puja are:

The Chhathi Maiya is worshipped during the Chhath festival, as mentioned in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana. The Chhath Puja is said to have begun in the holy city of Varanasi by the Gahadavala dynasty.

The festival is well-known in the Munger region for its association with Sita Manpatthar. The main center of public faith in Munger is the Sitacharan temple, which is located on a boulder in the middle of the Ganges. The goddess Sita is said to have performed the Chhath festival in Munger. Only after this event did the Chhath festival begin. As a result, Munger and Begusarai celebrate Chhath Mahaparva with great fanfare.

Another legend has it that King Priyavrat, son of First Manu Swayambhu, was depressed because he had no children. Maharishi Kashyap requested that he perform a yajna. He performed a yajna for a son under Maharishis orders. Following this, Queen Malini gave birth to a son, who died shortly after birth. Because of this, the king and his family were devastated. Then Mata Shashthi appeared in the sky. When the king prayed to her, she replied, "I am Chhathi Maiya, the Sixth form of Devi Parvati, and I protect all the children of the world and give the blessings of children to all childless parents." She then blessed the lifeless child with her hands.

And, as mentioned in the famous epic Ramayana, when Rama and Sita returned to Ayodhya, people celebrated Deepawali, and Ramrajya was established on its sixth day. On this day, Rama and Sita fasted, and Sita performed Surya Shashthi/Chhath Puja. As a result, she was blessed with Luv and Kush as sons.

Kunti performed Chhath Puja after they escaped from Lakshagriha in the Mahabharata. Karna, the son of Surya and Kunti, is also said to have been conceived after Kunti performed Chhath puja. Draupadi is also said to have performed the Puja for the Pandavas for them to win the Kurukshetra War.

Rituals & Traditions

Chhath Puja is a folk festival that lasts four days. It starts with Kartik Shukla Chaturthi and ends with Kartik Shukla Saptami. Chhath is celebrated twice a year.

Nahaay Khaay (Day 1)

The first day of Chhath Puja has arrived. The Parvaitin (faster) must take a holy bath before thoroughly cleaning the entire house, its surroundings, and the pathways to the Ghat. Sattvik Lauka Bhaat is typically prepared by Parvaitin. After offering it to the deity as Bhog in the afternoon, the Parvaitin consumes it as their final meal.

Rasiaav-Roti/Kharna/Lohanda (Day 2)

The second day of Chhath Puja is known as Kharna, also known as Rasiaav-Roti or Lohanda. On this day, devotees are not permitted to drink even a drop of water. In the evening, they offer, eat and distribute Gki kheer (jaggery kheer), known as Rasiaav, with Roti.

Sanjhauti Aragh (Day 3)

This day is spent at home preparing prasad (offerings), which typically consists of a bamboo basket decorated with fruits, Thekua, and rice laddus. On the eve of this day, the devotee takes the entire household to a riverbank, pond, or other large body of water to make Arghya offerings to the setting sun.

During arghya, Gangajal water is offered to the Sun God, and the Chhathi Maiya is worshipped with prasad. After the Sun God is worshipped, Chhath songs are sung at night, and the Vrat Katha is read.

When the devotees return home, they perform the Kosi Bharai ritual with the rest of the family. They take 5 to 7 sugarcanes and tie them together to form a mandap, under which 12 to 24 Diya lamps are lit and Thekua and other seasonal fruits are served. The same ritual is performed the following morning between 3 and 4 a.m., and devotees then offer arghya or other offerings to the rising sun.

Bhor Aragh (Day 4)

On the last day of Chhath puja, devotees must go to the riverbank before sunrise to offer an arghya to the rising sun. Following that, Chhatti Maiya is asked to protect the child as well as the peace and happiness of the entire family. Following worship, devotees drink water and eat prasad to break their fast. This is known as Paaran or Paarana.

Significance

According to legend, Chhath Puja originated during the early Vedic period, when sages would fast for days and perform the puja using Rigvedic mantras. Karna, the son of Lord Surya and king of Anga Desh, modern-day Bhagalpur in Bihar, and Pandavas with Draupadi performed the Puja to overcome obstacles from their lives and reclaim their lost kingdom. 

The Mahaparva Chhath honors the sun god Surya. The sun is visible to all beings and serves as the foundation of all life on Earth. On this day, Chhathi Maiya is worshipped alongside the Sun God. Chhathi Maiya (or Chhathi Mata) protects children from diseases and problems and grants them long lives and good health, according to Vedic astrology.

The main worshippers, called Parvaitin are usually women, however, Chhath is not a gender-specific festival. In some communities, once a family member starts performing Chhath Puja, they are duty-bound to perform it every year and pass it on to the following generations. The prasad offerings include Thekua, Khajuria, Tikri, and Kasar and seasonal fruits like sugar canes, sweet lime, coconut, banana, and many seasonal fruits, all offered in small bamboo baskets. The food is strictly vegetarian and is cooked without salt, onions, or garlic. And with this, we hope for the safety of all Indians, Happy Chhath Puja!

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