Chhath is a festival, consequently, an ancient tradition followed in the Mithila region of Nepal and India. In the Madhesh region of Nepal and Bihar region of India, Chhath is celebrated with great devotion and inspiration. The Chhath Puja is devoted to the Solar deity(Lord Surya) and his wife Usha for sustaining life on planet earth. It is a festival of thanksgiving to Lord Sun for maintaining the cycle of life on earth.
In Hindu Ethics, the sun(Lord Surya) is considered among the powerful gods and ranked along with Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, and Lord Ganesha. Lord Surya poses the capacity to control the entire living of nature hence called the world’s soul.
Lord Surya is considered to be a source of enlightenment, healing, and a symbol of prosperity. Therefore People worship the sun to prolong their lives, to get a peaceful soul, and to request lord Surya to continue in their journey of providing lightness.
The wife of god sun is also widely recognized as Chhathi Maiya. Chhathi Maiya is believed to bring happiness among family, so worshiping the god sun and goddess Maiya helps worshipers gain wealth, fame, and health.
Celebration and Chhath Puja
Chhath Prava is also known by Chhaith, Chhath Puja, Dala Chhath, Dala Puja, Surya Shashthi, and is celebrated during Kartik. The festival is celebrated for 4 days from Kartik Shukala Chaturthi to Kartik Shukala Saptami, right after 6 days of Tihar (also known as Diwali in India).
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The festival is celebrated with different traditional rituals and with great pomp and has its own significance among the Hindu folks.
Celebration Activities in Chhath
The festival of Lord sun, Surya Shashthi, is celebrated for four days. Devotees perform different traditions and rituals during these days.
Naha Kha : The First Day
Naha Kha is the first day of the festival and it means Bath and eats. On this day, Devotees gather at banks of holy rivers such as Gandaki, Koshi, or Karnali to take bath. Thereafter they return home with holy eater of rivers to perform and prepare for additional rituals.
Kharna/ Lohanda: The second Day
On this day, Devotees fast the whole day without drinking even a drop of water. At the end of the day, In the evening the fast taken by females is ended by consuming Kheer (rice pudding), Puris, and fruits after the sunset.
Chhath: Third Day
On the third day, Different offerings are made, especially the sun is offered arghya. During the day families prepare offerings and prepare for Puja and at the sunset, they gather at river banks or at the pond to make offerings to the sun. Thereafter, Chhathi Maiya is worshiped from a soop filled with prasad. Rani Pokhari of Kathmandu is opened to allow people to perform Arghya.
Paran: The last Day
Paran is is fourth and final day of Surya Shashthi and is also known by Bihaniya (Usha) Aragh. Devotes come across the river banks at the dawn to make offerings (Aragh) to the rising sun. After completing all offerings and rituals the fast is broken marking the end of the Chhath Festival.
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