- Chhath Puja is also known as Pratihar, Dala Chhath, Chhathi and Surya Shashthi.
- It is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival, is dedicated to solar deity Surya and Shashthi Devi.
- It is primarily observed in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh and even in Nepal for thanking the gods for bestowing life on earth.
- The worshipping of the Sun God spans four days.
- First day of Chhath is known as Nahay Khay. The holy dip in a water body, especially in the river Ganga, is taken on this day. Women folks who observe Chhath take only a single meal on this day.
- Second day of Chhath is known as Kharna where dry fasting, without water, is observed from sunrise to sunset. The fast is broken just after sunset after making a food offering to the Sun God.
- Third day fasting begins after having Prasad on the second day. The third day is the main day of Chhath Puja where Arghya is offered to the setting sun. It is the only time of the year when Arghya is given to the setting Sun. On the third day, fasting continues throughout the night.
- Parana is done on the next day after sunrise.
- The festival does not involve idolatry. Devotees believe that the main sources of the sun’s powers are his wives, Usha and Pratyusha.
- The festival finds a mention in both epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Ramayana, it is said that Sita performed Surya Shashthi or Chhath Puja on the day Ramrajya was established, whereas in Mahabharata, the puja was performed by Kunti (mother of the Pandavas) after they escaped from Lakshagrih, on the banks on Ganga.
Source: Indian Express
Previous Year Question
Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2018)
- Chapchar Kut Festival — Mizoram
- Khongjom Parba ballad — Manipur
- Thang-Ta Dance — Sikkim
Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2
(c) 3 only
(d) 2 and 3