Significance of Chhath Puja in Indian Culture

If there is one festival during which every Bihari wants to be home, it is Chhath. It touches an emotional chord with Bihari populace. Chhath Puja is a festival when the entire family gets together in celebration and none wants to miss. Almost exclusive to Bihar (including Jharkhand), the four-day festival of Chhath is dedicated to the Sun God and his two consorts, Usha and Pratyusha. 

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Significance Of Chhath Puja: Now apart from the religious significance of thanking the Sun for providing us a good life, there is some science too attached to the rituals of this festivals. The rituals demand to pray at the river bank or standing at the river bank for long hours and there is an explanation to it. The ultraviolet rays of the sun are at their lowest during sunrise and sunset and that’s why the sun rays are most beneficial at these two times. These sun rays then help in detoxifying the mind, body, and soul by removing all negative energies.

 

Rituals Involved in Chhath Puja

 

Nahay Khay: The first days of the Chhath Puja involved devotees taking dip preferably in the River Kosi, Ganga and Karnali and then after the holy dip devotees take home the holy water to prepare the offerings. It is one of the most important rituals of Chhath Puja on the first day.

 

Lohanda or Kharna: A long day fast (without water) is observed by the devotees. They fast for a whole day and end it in the evening after worshipping Chhathi Maiya and easting Prasad. Offering also called Prasad, are made of Rasiao- kheer (cooked rice in milk), puris (deep fired puffs) or chapattis and bananas. The Prasad is distributed among other family members and neighbours.

 

Sandhya Arghya (evening offerings): The third day of Chhath Puja is also observed with fast without water and the entire day involves preparing puja offerings. The offerings (prasad) later are kept in a bamboo tray. The offering includes thekua, coconut banana and other seasonal fruits. Third day’s evening rituals takes place at the banks of a river or a pond or any clean water body. All the devotees offer ‘araghya’ to the setting sun.

 

Bihaniya Arghya: On the last day of Chhath Puja, devotees again assemble on the bank of the River or any water body and then offer prayers and prasad to the rising Sun. After the offerings are done then the devotees break their fast by eating ginger and sugar or anything which is available locally. After all these Chhath Puja rituals this amazing festival ends.