Chhath Puja is an ancient Vedic festival dedicating and thanking Sun and Chhathi Maiyaa for bestowing the bounties of life on earth.
Considering as the creator of the material universe, people are worshipping god Sun in India since the early Vedic times.
Sun, known as Surya, is the first god as per the different ancient Hindu scriptures – the Vedas and the Puranas.
About Chhath Puja
As the rituals of Chhath Puja is dating back to the ancient era. It also finds mention in the ancient Vedas – Rigveda featuring different hymns adulating the Lord Surya and exemplifies similar customs.
The Sanskrit Epic poem of Mahabharata also mentions the custom of worshipping God Sun.
Apart from Thanksgiving the Sun for the energy and the blessings bestowed by him, people also worship the Chhathi Maiya.
In this festival people also worship Chhathi Maiya. Known as Usha (Dawn) by Vedic scriptures Chhathi Maiya is feminine energy empowering the Sun.
In the Mithila region of Bihar, people call and worship her in these four days as “Rana Mai”.
The unique feature about the Chhath Puja is that it is above the disputed concept of Murti Pujan, unlike the most Hindu festivals.
The main worshipers, called Parvaitin (from Sanskrit Parv, meaning ‘occasion’ or ‘festival’), are usually women.
However, a large number of men also observe this festival as Chhath is not a gender-specific festival. The Parvaitin pray for the well-being of their family, and for the prosperity of their off-springs.
People celebrate this festival for a period of four days. Starting from Nahay-Khaay the festival moves on as Kharna, Shandhya Arghya, and Usha Arghya and last Paaran.
The Chhath festival involves several rituals, which are considerably harsher as compared to other festivals.
On the first day, devotees take a dip in the holy river and cook a proper meal for themselves. Kaddu-Bhaat (Rice & Bottlegurad) along with Channa Daal is a common preparation on this day and it is cooked by using mud or bronze utensils and mango wood over a mud stove.
The second day, devotees observe a fast for the entire day, which they can break just a while after sunset.
The Parvaitins cook the whole Prasad on their own which includes kheer and chapattis. They break their fast with this Prasad, after which they have to fast without water for 36 hours.
The third day is spent by preparing the Prasad at home and then in the evening, the entire household of the Vratins accompany them to the river bank, where they make offerings to the setting sun.
Usha Arghya/ Paaran
On the final day, all the devotees’reach riverbank before sunrise to make offerings to the rising sun. This festival ends when the Parvratins break their 36 hours fast (called Paran).
Thereafter relatives come over to their house to have their share of Prasad.
Lots of people believe that the Sun is necessary for a life of possibly every creature on the earth. Thus this festival is a way to remember God Sun irrespective of caste, creed, gender, and social stigmas.
Chhath Puja- Scientific & Environment Significance
Apart from religious significance, there are a lot of scientific facts attached to these rituals. The devotees generally pray at the river bank during sunrise or sunset and it is scientifically backed up with the fact that solar energy has the lowest level of the Ultraviolet radiation during these two timings and it is really beneficial for the body.
This traditional festival of Chhath Puja showers upon you the positivity and helps in detoxifying your mind, soul, and body. It helps to remove all the negative energies from your mind by adoring the powerful sun.
Deo Sun Temple, Aurangabad
Umga Sun Temple
Kandaha Sun Temple
Banjari Sun Temple
Happy Travelling !!