Happy Chhath Puja to everyone reading this blog! May Surya Devta and Chhathi Maiya fulfill all your wishes and protect you from evil. Chhath Puja is a very important festival among the natives in Bihar and is celebrated with utmost devotion and simplicity. Whenever I think of women who do Chhath Puja, my head bows down to them with ultimate respect because it takes guts and unconditional faith in God to fast for four days and carry out toughest rituals in that condition.
During Chhath Puja, women devotees (vrati) have to observe nirjala fasts (fasts without consuming food and water) for four days (yes, you heard that right) and carry out difficult rituals for their families’ good health and prosperity. The entire family members in return try to ease the burden of the vrati by carrying out household chores and ensuring that the devotee has everything she needs for the rituals. Chhath Puja is a community and family affair which means like any other Hindu festival, everyone gathers together to celebrate the power of Sun and seek his blessings. It is a beautiful and harmonious festival celebrated in every Bihari family. In fact, Chhath Puja is celebrated in other parts of India and world as well – Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Nepal.
Almost all festivals in Hindu culture are beautiful and carry a deeper meaning but there is something about Chhath Puja that deserves our attention. Chhath Puja is the toughest festival in Hinduism because you have to fast for four days and carry out rituals without making any mistake. There are many rules and rituals involved and if you break one ritual or rule then it is going to have major side-effects in your family. Once you have taken the pratigya to be a vrati, you cannot go back to your promise and have to observe fast during chhath every year with adoration for God and your family. However, Chhath Puja is not celebrated in the year when someone dies in the family or extended relations.
Chhath Puja is a very special festival as it celebrates the divine power of the Sun, the life-giver. Sun is very important for the sustainment of life on earth. Without Sun’s heat and light, nobody will survive on this earth. Chhat Puja is pious as the food prepared during Chhat Puja is supposed to be sattvic which means the meals have to be strictly vegetarian and must not contain onion, garlic, and even normal salt (however, the devotees can consume sendha namak aka rock salt). The offerings or prashad made during Chhat Puja are prepared by the devotees and they include thekuas (my favourite) which are dry sweets made with wheat flour, wheat puris, rice laddoo, rice kheer, seasonal fruits, sugarcanes, and so on. Chhat Puja involves going to the ghats to make the offerings to the Surya devta during dawn and dusk and to seek his blessings for the upliftment of one’s family.
The four days of Chhat Puja are very special for any Bihari family as it is the prominent and toughest festival in Bihar and other parts of India. If your mother or wife is observing fasts during Chhat Puja, help her with household chores and ensure that she gets everything she wants. Once again, wishing you a pious Chhat Puja and I hope this auspicious occasion brings good health, success, and prosperity in your family.
Author Bio: I’m Juhi Pandey, the girl who loves festival and lights!