The celebration of Chhath Puja is committed to commending the Source of Life, Lord Surya. A unique festival like Chhath binds the whole community together. Women wear new ethnic outfits and people of all castes come together to offer prayers to Lord Surya. The Chhath ghat is adorned with flowers and fruits are offered to the setting sun. It is one of the most prominent festivals of Bihar.
Celebrated on the sixth day of Diwali, Chhath Puja is a festival of great fervor. This festival is celebrated in the Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand. It is also observed by the people of the Nepali diaspora. During this time, devotees offer their sincere prayers to the Sun God and his sister, Shashti Devi, known as Chhathi Maiya. Unlike many Hindu festivals, Chhath puja does not involve any idol worshipping. People offer prayers to the Sun God and thank him for his bountiful blessings. During this period, devotees take a heavenly dip in a river and offer prayers to the rising and setting sun. Besides observing a fast, devotees also abstain from drinking water. The food prepared during this time is devoid of salt, garlic, and onions. By that very fact, only pure vegetarian food is prepared. Women offer fruits and flowers to the Sun God. The prasad offered also includes thekua (a sweet made of flour and jaggery), rice ladoos, sugar cane, and kheer.
Devotees ask Lord Surya to help their friends and family with daily trials of life. Lord Surya showers upon them health and wealth. Individuals on this day recite Lord Surya Mantra.
Given below is a Lord Surya Mantra that if chanted brings home luck and joy
Chhath Puja Mantra
ॐ सूर्य देवं नमस्ते स्तु गृहाणं करूणा करं |
अर्घ्यं च फ़लं संयुक्त गन्ध माल्याक्षतै युतम् ||
Chant this Surya mantra while offering water to the Sun God and pray for the shower of blessings upon you.
Chhath puja celebration is very pious and it is believed that whoever prays to Lord Sun and Chhath Mata with dedication all their wishes are granted. This festival is especially celebrated for children. Those couples who don’t have children observe Chhath Vrat for a child and others celebrate Chhath for the happiness and peace of their family and children.
Four-day long Chhath Puja
Chhath Puja is a four-day-long festival that is celebrated on the sixth day of Kartik month as per the Hindu calendar. Men and women on these days observe a fast and offer prayer to the Sun God and Chhathi Mata, who as per tales is the sister of the Sun God. Katyayani Devi, the sixth incarnation of Goddess Durga, is considered to be the form of Chhath Mata. It is one of the most auspicious and toughest festivals, where devotees have to observe “nirjala fast” (not even allowed to drink water) for 36-40 hours. Rituals Chhath Puja is a four-day-long festival. The first day begins with the ritual of “Nahay Khay”. On this day people clean their house, take a bath and prepare a special meal, which is devoured by the entire family. The fasting begins on the second day of Chhath Puja, called “Kharna.” On this day devotees keep fast for the entire day and eat in the evening after offering prayer to the Sun god. A special prasad is prepared that includes Rasiao-kheer.
The third day is called “Sandhya Argh”. On this day devotees observe fast and pray to the setting Sun.
The fourth and the last day of Chhath Puja is called Usha Argh and Paran. Where devotees pay their obeisance to the rising sun, after which they break their fast.
Devotees observe nirjala fasts (do not even drink water) and offer prayers to Lord Sun and his sister Goddess Chhath Mata by bathing in the holy water in the nearest river to them. They offer sweets, fruits to the God of light and wish for health and prosperity. They worship the setting and the rising sun.