CHHATH PUJA: All You Need To Know About The Auspicious Festival

Chhath is an ancient Indian festival solely dedicated to the God of Sun and Chhathi Maiya. This festival, that begins on October 27 this year, is celebrated by all Hindus and especially North Indians with zeal and enthusiasm. People celebrate Chhath and offer gratitude to Surya Devta for blessing life on earth and granting wishes. Chhath Puja is carried on for four days and includes certain rituals like holy bathing, fasting, offering prayers, etc. According to the Hindu calendar, Chhath is celebrated on the sixth day of the month of Kartik (October).
On the festival of Chhath, people wake up early, take a holy bath in river Ganga and fast for the entire day. The female of the house dips her feet in water and offers prayers to the rising sun which is also called as aragh. Observing fast on this day is not at all an easy task. One has to fast without water for around 36 hours, which is next to impossible. Hats off to all devotees who observe and carry out this fast with full dedication.
Mythological legends about Chhath Puja
Draupadi and Pandavas
In Hindu religion, Chhath festival has greater significance and connects with the oldest and ancient Purohits who were requested by the Kings to perform traditional puja of Lord Sun. during those days, the Purohits chanted the age-old Rigveda and hymns. Chhath Puja during older times was celebrated by Draupadi and Pandavas from the Mahabharata who regained their lost kingdom.
Lord Rama and Goddess Sita
Rama Sita
It is said that the first Chhath Puja was started by Surya Putra Karna, who was a brave warrior and ruled over Anga Desh(Bihar). Another history being that Chhath Puja is the untold story of Lord Rama. Lord Rama and Goddess Sita had fasted and offered puja to the Lord Sun during their coronation after they returned to Ayodhya.
Chhathi Maiya
The Goddess who is worshipped the most during Chhath Puja is ‘Chhathi Maiya’. She is said to be the consort of Surya – Sun God. Devotees worship her so that they can overcome their problems and can get Moksha. Chhathi Maiya is also known as ‘Usha’, which means the first ray of light during the day. According to the myth, Usha and Pratusha were the wives of Lord Sun and both are worshipped along with the Sun.
Advantages of observing Chhath Puja
1. After observing and performing Chhath Puja, one grabs control over the flow of prana and gains a lot of energy and positive vibes. It not only keeps one healthy but also improves the skin and eyesight.
2. The entire process helps in increasing immunity and cures a variety of infections through the radiation of the Sun.
3. Worshipping the Sun and standing in water for the entire day helps to meditate and relaxes the soul and the mind.
4. This process also helps in fighting diseases and improves the performance of WBC (white blood cells).
5. Solar energy provides the body with power and controls the secretion of hormones.
Age old rituals and traditions
On the day of Chhath Puja, the devotee has to take holy bath and has to observe fast for four continuous days. One has to perform this puja with full purity and should sacrifice all luxurious habits. It is believed that the family who performs Chhath Puja once has to continue it for the rest of their lives and should also pass on the rituals to the next generation. Here are the rituals of Chhath Puja:

1. The first day of the Chhath Puja - Nahay khay - should commence with holy bath and the devotee has to bring some amount of water at their home for offering. The surroundings must be clean enough to perform the puja.
2.  On the second day - Lohanda and Kharna - devotees observe fast for the entire day and directly break fast in the evening after sunset. The food prepared is then offered in the puja and in the evening again they start fasting and that too, without water for the next 36 hours.
3. The third day comprises Sandhya and Arghya wherein the females wear sarees of turmeric color and offer arghya on the river bank of Ganga. Further, the event of Kosi is celebrated by lighting lamps or diyas under five sugarcane sticks. This indicates Panchatattva which contain five elements of the human body.
4. The last day of Chhath - Usha Arghya – is where devotees offer Bihaniya Aragh on the river bank of Ganga along with their family. And by the end of the day devotees break their fast by consuming prasad.
Delicacies prepared on Chhath Puja:
On the auspicious occasion of Chhath Puja, people prepare prasad which they offer to Lord Sun. Tempting dishes are prepared on the first day, including kheer, theku, fruits and puris. The food should ideally be cooked without salt, onion and garlic. The person observing the fast has to consume the meal once in a day that too which is cooked using bronze or mango wood utensils.
Happy Chhath Puja to everyone out there! Hope God grants the wishes of one and all with well-being, happiness and prosperity. 
Imaging: Jyoti Desale   Artical Source: India
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