The much-awaited festival of Chhath Puja begins tomorrow with Nahay Khay. All you want to know about rituals of the four-day celebration and puja timings.
All roads lead to their hometown for people from Bihar and UP as Chhath Puja begins November 17 with Nahay Khay, the first ritual of the four-day festival that sets the tone for the rigorous 36-hour fasting ahead. Dedicated to the Sun God and his sister Chhathi Maiyya, the daughter of Lord Brahma as per Indian mythology, Chhath Puja festival is one of the biggest festivals in Bihar and UP where the preparations begin days in advance from cleaning houses to buying puja samagri, soops, new clothes for the family and prasad items. The festival of Chhath goes back to the Vedic era and the rituals of Sandhya and Usha arghya find mention in Rigveda. It is said that the idea of the festival originated from the Rishis who used to fast for days together.
Chhath Puja date
Chhath Puja is usually observed by one of the women in the house for the well-being of their children and family wherein the vratis have to perform a set of rituals along with nirjala fasting in order to be blessed with Lord Sun and Chhathi Maiyya. Chhath Puja is celebrated on the sixth day of the Shukla Paksha of the Hindu month of Kartik, usually six days after Diwali. This year, the four-day festival of Chhath Puja will be celebrated from November 17 to 20. Arghya to the setting sun and the rising sun will be given on November 19 and November 20 respectively. Here's all you want to know about the four days of Chhath.
Four days of Chhath Puja: Time and shubh muhurat for rituals
November 17 - Nahay Khay: Devotees take a bath in a holy water body like Ganga or Yamuna. After taking bath, prasad of kaddu bhaat is taken by devotees and is also distributed to family members.
Sunrise at 6:45 am
Sunset at 5:27 pm
November 18 - Kharna and Lohanda: On this day, devotees wake up early in the morning and the prasad of rasiya or gud kheer is made. A day-long nirjala fast without food and water is observed from sunrise to sunset, and the fast is broken with the prasad of rasiya, which is the last meal before 36-hour arduous fasting begins.
Sunrise at 6:46 am
Sunset at 5:26 pm
November 19 - Sandhya Arghya: As the fasting without food and water continues, the preparation for the evening puja goes hand in hand. Soops are filled with the prasad of thekua, coconut, seasonal fruits etc and arghya is offered to the setting sun, standing waist-deep in a water body. However the fasting continues throughout the night till next day morning.
Sunrise at 6:46 am
Sunset at 5:26 pm
November 20 - Usha Arghya: This is the last day of Chhath Puja fasting and it concludes with arghya being offered to the rising sun, also known as Usha Arghya, standing in the water. The completion of Chhath Puja fills the heart of devotees as well their families and relatives with joy and happiness. It's the time to relish prasad from soops and enjoy it for days together.
Chhath Puja significance and legends
One of the most rigorous fasts, those observing Chhath Puja fast go without food and water for 36 hours at a stretch with prayers for their children and family in mind. There are several interesting legends associated with Chhath and one of them is related to Suryaputra Karna who is said to offer arghya to the Sun God while standing in the water. Another legend revolved around Pandavas, where upon facing food crisis during their exile in forest, Yudhishthir on the suggestion of Dhoumya Muni worshipped Lord Surya and got blessed with a magical copper vessel that cooked four types of food for them.