Thursday, October 31, 2019

Chhath Puja: narration, history, story, preparation, tradition and greatness

.  "Chhath Puja"

 Thursday 31 October 2019 (Nahai-Khay)

 Friday, 01 November 2019, (Kharna)

 Saturday 02 November 2019, (evening prayer)

 Sunday 03 November 2019, (Morning)

 Chhath is a Hindu festival celebrated every year with great eagerness by the people.  It is a very ancient festival of Hinduism, dedicated to the God of energy, also known as Surya or Surya Shashthi.  People celebrate this festival to thank Lord Surya for getting the blessings of life on earth forever.  People worship Lord Surya with great enthusiasm and pray for success and progress for the good of their family members, friends and elders.  According to Hindu religion, the worship of Surya is related to the treatment of certain diseases like leprosy etc.

 On this day, it is customary to get up early and bathe in the holy Ganga and fast for the whole day, even they do not drink water and stand in water for a long time.  They offer offerings and arghya to the rising sun.  It is celebrated in various states of India, such as Bihar, U.P., Jharkhand and Nepal.  According to Hindu calendar, it is celebrated on the sixth day of the Kartik month (in October and November).
 In some places Chaitri is celebrated a few days after Holi in the month of Chhatra Chaitra (March and April).  It is named Chhath because it is celebrated on the sixth day of Kartik month.  Chhath Puja is very famous in Dehri-on-Sone, Patna, Dev and Gaya.  It is now celebrated all over India.


 Chhath Puja has great importance in Hinduism and it is believed that the king had requested the old priests to come and do traditional worship of Lord Surya.  He recited mantras and sources from the ancient Rigveda and worshiped the Sun God.  The ancient Chhath Puja was performed by the Pandavas and Draupadi of Hastinapur (New Delhi) to solve their problems and regain their kingdom.  It is also believed that Chhath Puja was started by Surya son Karna.  He was a great warrior during the Mahabharata war and was the ruler of Angadesh (Munger district of Bihar).
 On the day of Chhath Puja, Chhathi Maiya (wife of Lord Surya) is also worshiped, Chhath Maiya is also known as Usha in the Vedas.  Usha means morning (first ray of the day).  People pray to the sixth maiya to overcome their troubles as well as to attain salvation or liberation.
 The second historical story behind celebrating Chhath Puja is that of Lord Rama.  It is believed that after 14 years of exile when Lord Rama and Mother Sita came back to Ayodhya and fasted during the coronation, worshiped Lord Surya in the Shukla Paksha of Kartik month.  From that time, Chhath Puja became an important and traditional festival of Hinduism and people started celebrating the same date every year.


 Long time ago, there was a king named Priyavrata and his wife was Malini.  He lived very happily but there was a lot of grief left in his life that he had no children.  With the help of Maharishi Kashyap, he decided to perform a huge yagna for the blessings of children.  Due to the effect of yajna, his wife became pregnant.  But after 9 months they gave birth to a dead child.  The king was very sad and decided to commit suicide.  While suddenly committing suicide, a goddess appeared in front of him.  Devi said, I am Devi VI and whoever worships me with a pure mind and soul, definitely gets a child.  King Priyavrat did the same and he got a beautiful and loving child as a blessing of the Goddess.  Since then, people started celebrating Chhath Puja.


 In the worship of Chhath, every method and legislation has been given importance.  Worshiping material is of special importance in these statutes as well as Chhath Puja is considered incomplete without these materials.  The complete list of the worship material which is important for Chhath Puja is as follows: - Bamboo or Pital Soup, Daura made from bamboo shafts, Dulia and Dagra, Coconut with water, Sugarcane with leaf, Mouth, Sweet potato, Turmeric and  Ginger plant (good if green), pear, lemon big, honey box, betel nut and betel nut, carav, vermilion, camphor, kumkum, rice (Akshat), sandalwood, sweets.  In addition, home-made dishes such as Thekuva, Crispy, Puva, also known as Tikri in some areas, Rice Laddus, also known as Ladua, etc. are included in the ingredients of Chhath Pujan.


 It is believed that a person performing Chhath Puja is separated from his main family for 4 days after the period of abstinence after taking a holy bath.  Throughout the period he sleeps on the floor with a blanket with pure emotion.  It is generally believed that once a family starts Chhath Puja, they and their next generation will have to perform this Puja every year and it can be left only if someone has died in that year.
 Devotees offer offerings to Surya in a small bamboo basket with sweets, kheer, thekua and fruits on Chhath.  Prasad is prepared without salt, onion and garlic to maintain purity.  It is a 4-day festival which includes: -
 On the first day, the devotees bathe in the holy waters of the Ganges early in the morning and bring some water houses to prepare their offerings.  On this day, cleanliness should be done around the house and the house.  They take a time meal, known as pumpkin-rice, which is made in copper or earthen pot using only wood sticks on an earthen stove.
 On the second day (one day before Chhath) on Panchami, the devotees fast for the whole day and in the evening open the fast after the sun sets after the worship of Prithvi (earth).  They offer kheer, puri, and fruits in worship.  After eating food in the evening, they fast for 36 hours without drinking water.
 On the third day (on the sixth day) they offer sandhya arghya at the ghat along the river.  After wearing Arghya, she wears yellow saree.  Other family members wait to receive blessings from Pooja.  The traditional program is celebrated on the night of Chhath by lighting clay lamps covered with five canes on Kosi.  The five sugarcane represent the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and sky) that make up the human body.
 On the morning of the fourth day (Paruna), devotees along with their family and friends offer Bihaniya Arghya on the banks of the river Ganges.  Devotees open the fast by eating Chhath Prasad.


 Chhath Puja has a special significance during sunrise and sunset.  The time of sunrise and sunset is the most important time of day during which a human body can safely receive solar energy without any harm.  This is the reason that there is a myth of giving Sandhya Arghya and Vihania Arghya to Sun in Chhath Festival.  During this period, the level of ultraviolet radiation in solar energy is low then it is safe for human body.  People perform Chhath Puja to thank Lord Surya for continuing life on earth as well as receiving blessings.
 The ritual of Chhath Puja, by purification (body and mind) provides mental peace, increases energy levels and immunity, greatly reduces the frequency of burning anger, as well as negative emotions.  It is also believed that Chhath Puja helps slow down the aging process.  Such beliefs and customs make the Chhath ritual the most important festival in Hinduism.
 "Chhath Puja date in 2019"
 Thursday 31 October 2019 is a day for bathing and eating. (Nahai-Khay)
 Friday, 01 November 2019, is a day of fasting that ends after sunset after a fast of 36 hours. (Kharna)
 Saturday 02 November 2019 is the day of Sandhya Arghya which is known as Sandhya Pujan.  (Evening prayer)
 Sunday 03 November 2019, Sunrise is the opening day of Arghya and Paran or fasting.  (Early morning)


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