Chhath Puja 2019: Date, History, Importance and Significance of Chhath Puja in India
Chhath Puja 2019 Date in India: Dedicated to Sun god, Chhath Puja is celebrated with fervour in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh in India, and also in Nepal. It is the only Vedic festival that is dedicated to the Sun God, who is believed to be the source of human existence. On this day, devotees also worship his sister Chhathi maiyya (another name for Goddess Usha). The God of light, energy and life force is worshipped to promote well-being, development and the prosperity of human beings. The devotees who observe fast during this four-day festival are called vrati.
The Karthik Chhath, which falls on the sixth day after Diwali, is celebrated in the months of October or November, and the puja is performed on Kartika Shukla Shashti which is the sixth day of the month of Karthika, according to the Hindu calendar. This year, the festival will be celebrated from October 31 to November 3.
‘Nahay Khay’ on October 31, ‘Kharna’ on November 1, ‘Sandhya Arghya’ on November 2 and ‘Usha Arghya’ on November 3.
On the first day of the puja — Nahay Khay, devotees take a dip, preferably in the Kosi river, Karnali and Ganga, and carry home the holy water to prepare the offerings. On Kharna, devotees observe a day-long fast, which ends in the evening — a little after sunset. After worshipping the Sun and the Moon, they prepare offerings of kheer, bananas and rotis for their family. After consuming the offering, they fast for 36 hours without water.
On the third day — Sandhya Arghya (evening offerings), after preparing the prasad, they take a dip in the holy water body in the evening and worship the Sun god and Chhathi maiyya. They offer the evening offerings amid folk songs. Then comes the fourth and the last day of the festival — Usha Arghya — when the devotees go to the holy waters a little before sunrise and offer morning offerings to the sun, following which they break their fast.
During this period, devotees live frugally; they sleep on the floor on a single blanket. The main festival is commemorated on the third day of Chhath, when the Sun god is offered Surya Namaskar and fruits.
Chhath Puja 2019: History and significance
It is believed that the celebration of Chhath puja may predate to the ancient Vedas, as the rituals performed during the puja are similar to the ones mentioned in Rig Veda, in which the Sun god is worshipped. At the time, the rishis (sages) were also known to worship the Sun and remain without consuming any food as they would obtain their energy directly from the sun. However, another significance of the puja is attached to the story of Lord Rama.
According to ancient texts, Rama and his wife Sita had observed a fast and offered prayers to the Sun god, in the month of Kartika in Shukla Paksh, once they returned to the Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. From then on, Chhath Puja became a significant Hindu festival, which is celebrated with zeal and zest every year.