The four-day Chhath Puja event is held on the sixth day of Kartik Maas, from whence the festival derives its name. “Chhath” literally means “six.”
Bihar, a northern Indian state, is the core of this event; nevertheless, it is celebrated with almost similar zeal in other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Chhat Puja is a four-day celebration.
Nahai Khai: On the first day of the festival, Vratti/devotees take a bath in a river, pond, or any other body of water, particularly the Ganges. They carry Ganga water home and use it to make Prasad, a sacred feast made of pumpkin, bottle gourd, and mung-chana daal. On this day, worshippers clean the home and the surrounding compound. On this day, the vratti eat only once. The meal is cooked without contamination, and when it is done, the Vratti eat first, followed by the rest of the family.
Kharna: The Vrattis fast throughout the entire day on Panchami, or the fifth day of the Hindu calendar. They don’t consume anything, not even a drop of water, until the sun goes down. The entire day is spent preparing for the event, buying for necessities such as sugarcane, fruits, and other items. Later in the evening, vrattis cook Rasiao-kheer (a sort of sweet dessert made with jiggery, rice, and milk) and chapattis.
Sandhya Arghya: Evening offering to lord Suryanarayan, on this day vrattis prepare offerings (early in the morning before sunrise usually). During the day, the daura (a bamboo-stick basket) is prepared by placing all of the offerings, including thekua and seasonal fruits, into it. In the evening, the vratti and every family member congregate on the bank of a river, pond, or reservoir that has been designed and adorned for the puja. Vratti worships the dying sun from the ghat. Folk songs are sung that depict India’s social culture. Later in the evening, when the sun sets, vratti offers the Sandhya Arghya and worships the Sun God.
Usha Arghya: Morning offering, is the offering made to the Sun God in the morning. The vrattis and family members reassemble on the riverbank early in the morning and sit till the sun rises. They chant and dance in honour of Chhati Maiya. When the sun rises, the morning arghya is presented by immersing arghyas in sauri or supali in water. Following the morning sacrifices, the vratti distribute Prasad among themselves and seek blessings from elders on the ghat.
When Vratti returns from the ghat, they break their 36-hour fast, this is known as Paran.
Chhat Puja 2023 Date:
Arghya Sandhya The November 19, 2023
Usha Arghya – November 20, 2023