Chhath Puja is one of the most significant festivals for Hindus which is celebrated for four days with rigorous rituals. This festival is dedicated to Surya (the Sun) and his wives Usha, Sangya or Sandhya.
Also known as Surya Chashti, Chhathi and Dala Chhath, Chhath Puja is mainly celebrated in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh , West Bengal and Madhesh region of Nepal.
The rituals include holy bathing, fasting, abstaining from drinking water and standing in water for longer periods of time. People offer prasad (prayer offerings) and ‘arghya’ to the rising and the setting sun.
The festival will commence on 14 November and here are some important facts about Chhath Puja 2018.
Significance of Chhath Puja
This holy festival is dedicated to the Sun and Chhathi Maiyaa. Sun is depicted as the source of all life forms on the planet while Chhathi Maiya is Usha, Surya’s wife. It is believed that Sun can heal severe health issues and ensure one’s well-being.
It is the only festival which signifies both the rising and setting sun.
Many people believe Sun is necessary for life of possibly every creature on the earth and this festival is a way to pay tribute to it irrespective of caste, creed, gender and social stigmas.
Dates of Chhath Puja 2018
Chhath puja is on the 13th (evening ) & 14th (sunrise) of November 2018. The four-day festival will start from 11 November and will end on 14 November.
According to Drik Panchang, here are the timings of sunrise and sunset.
Sunrise on Chhath Puja Day – 06:41
Sunset on Chhath Puja Day – 17:28
Shashthi Tithi Begins – 01:50 on 13/Nov/2018
Shashthi Tithi Ends – 04:22 on 14/Nov/2018
Rituals and Traditions
- The very first day of Chhath starts exactly 4 days after Diwali and last for 4 more days. On this day, most of the people who observe fast take bath at a river or pond and prepare lunch (consisting of rice, dal mixed with pumpkin, made in pure ghee).
- The second day (5th day from Diwali) is known as kharna or kheer- roti or kheer-puri. On this day, people observe fast for full day without even drinking water and eat kheer as dinner after offering it to the rising moon and Goddess Ganga.
- The third day is the main festival day of chhath. The devotees maintain ‘nirjal vrat’ (fast without even taking a drop of water). People go on river bank and offer ‘arghya’ (fruits and sweets in winnow) and perform ‘surya namaskar’ to the setting sun.
The fast then comes to an end after offering argha to rising sun. In this way, nearly 42 hours of strict penance comes to an end.