Chhath Puja is a four-day festival celebrated in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Kolkata and West Bengal. This puja is an ancient festival, dedicated to the Sun God or Lord Surya to offer gratitude for blessing bounties on earth plane. The festival begins on Shukla paksha Chathurthi tithi of Karthik masa and ends on Saptami tithi. Chhath puja is performed on the Shasti tithi. Since the festival is celebrated in Kartika month it is also called Kartiki Chhath or Surya Shasti. This festival usually falls in the months of October - November per Gregorian Calendar. This celebration is observed with great fanfare and gaiety all over Eastern parts of India.
Chhath Puja Date 2023
Sun , 19th Nov 2023
This is the one of the few festivals that does not involve idolatry and is purely dedicated to Sun God & mother nature. Chhath is considered as the most environment friendly festival the essence of this celebration is the worship of elements in nature. This celebration is often used to spread the important message of conserving nature. All the rituals are performed to worship Lord Surya (the Sun deity). "Chhathi Maiya" is the mother goddess who is worshipped as the "Goddess of the festival". The Sun is offered arghya(offering/homage) in this puja.
The Sun is the Cosmic God visible to every being, every living cell on earth plane and He is the basis of life energy of all the creatures on earth. According to Vedic Astrology, planet Sun denotes - soul, father, ancestor, respect, and higher beings. The bright light of the Sun has the power to destroy diseases and grant clear conscience. The auspicious effect of the sun can make a person healthy, wealthy, and self-confident. His blessings can bestow great cleansing energy. Chhathi maiya or Chhathi mata worshipped in this ritual protects the offspring and blesses provides longevity.
According to Brahma Vaivarta Purana, King Priyavrat, son of First Manu Swayambhu, had no children. Maharishi Kashyapa asked the king to perform a grand a yajna to be blessed with a son. After the yajna, Queen Malini gave birth to a beautiful royal baby but unfortunately the baby was stillborn. The king and queen were so sad and cried, pleading to Sun God and Mata Shasti to return their newborn son to life. Moved by their sincere prayers and painful cry, Lord Surya blessed life prana on the baby. After this, the baby came alive in the queen’s hands. The king was very pleased with the grace of the Sun God and Goddess. Since then, offering argha and performing puja to Sun God during Karthika Shasti – saptami tithi period is believed to protect all the children of the world.
This puja is highly reverred in both Hindu epics – Ramayana & Mahabharatha. In Ramayana, when Rama and Sita returned to Ayodhya from their exile period, Rama and Sita observed fast and performed Chhath Puja on Surya Shashthi. In Mahabharata, it is said that Chhath Puja was performed by Kunti Devi and Draupadi that helped them escape from Lakshagrih.
This ancient celebration of Chhath Puja is celebrated for four days and the whole environment goes vibrant with decorations and Chhath songs; this puja also holds rituals that represent the ancient practices in India. This puja is also called Sandhya Arghya and is a thanksgiving celebration to Lord Surya for sustaining life and energy on earth.
The rituals and traditions of Chhath Puja involve taking dips in holy rivers or local water bodies, strict fasting where the devotee perform nirjala fast for 36 hours, offering prayers standing knee deep in water, facing the Sun for long periods and offering arghya to the Sun. For all the four days, Arghya is offered in the evening and upcoming morning to the Sun at sunset and sunrise respectively.
Monday, 8th of November
Kharna or Lohanda
Tuesday, 9th of November
Wednesday, 10th of November
Thursday, 11th of November
On the final day of Chhath puja, arghya is offered to the Sun God in the morning. Devotees wake up in the Brahma Muhurtha 3.30AM-4.30AM. They prepare a chhath puja samagri and begin their walk to the riverbank to offer arghya to the rising sun.
The samagri consists of,
This bamboo basket is called Daura, it filled with fruits and flowers for the pooja and placed in Devakari. Fasting commences from the sunrise and Chhath Ghat (river/pond) is cleaned in the evening to offer arghya to Lord Surya. Devotees gather for both sunset on third and fourth day to offer the samagri at the chhath ghat. In this entire event, the devotees sing songs of Chhath Maiya.
On the banks of the local water body or a river, a small chaura of Chhath Mata is created and the coconut from the samagri is placed on it, along with all the material brought for worship. Then a lamp is lit; shortly before sunset, this Daura (bamboo basket) is carried to the water. Women stand in water, knee deep and offer arghya to the drowning Surya bhagawan. They thank the Lord Surya for providing light and nourishment. After 36 hours of fast, devotees drink sharbat and raw milk, and eat a little prasad to break the fast called Parana.
Next day, i.e saptami tithi is Usha Arghya where “Arghya” is offered to the rising Sun. Devotees gather before sunrise and stand along the the ghat with family members to worship the rising Surya Bhagwan. New neivedhya is offered on this day, followed by puja and aarti
Chhath Puja festival dates between 2019 & 2029
Saturday, 2nd of November
Friday, 20th of November
Wednesday, 10th of November
Sunday, 30th of October
Sunday, 19th of November
Thursday, 7th of November
Monday, 27th of October
Sunday, 15th of November
Thursday, 4th of November
Monday, 23rd of October
Sunday, 11th of November