Chhath

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Chhath Puja
JanakpurChhathParvaFestival.jpg
Performing of prayer to Sun around the holy rivers, ponds and other small water bodies
Also calledChhathi
Chhath Parv
Chhath Puja
Dala Chhath
Dala Puja
Surya Shashthi
Observed by
Liturgical ColorColors related to Hinduism
Saffron (or Bhagwa)
TypeCultural, Historical, Religious
SignificanceTo thank Sun for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and fulfilling particular wishes
2018 date11 November to 14 November

Chhath is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival historically native to the Indian subcontinent, more specifically, the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal as well as the Madhesh region of Nepal.[1][2][3][4] The Chhath Puja is dedicated to the Sun and his sister Chhathi Maiya in order to thank them for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. Chhath does not involve any idol worship.[5] This festival is observed by Nepalese and Indian people, along with their diaspora.[6] While it is a Hindu festival, some Muslims also celebrate Chhath.[7]

The rituals of the festival are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days.[8] They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vratta), standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prasad (prayer offerings) and arghya to the setting and rising sun.[9] Some devotees also perform a prostration march as they head for the river banks.[10]

Environmentalists claim that Chhath is the most eco-friendly Hindu festival.[11][12] Although the festival is observed most elaborately in Madhesh (southern) region of Nepal and Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and UP, it is also more prevalent in areas where migrants from those areas have a presence. It is celebrated in all Northern regions and major Northern urban centers in India. The festival is celebrated in the regions including but not exclusive to the northeast region of India, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan[13][14] Mumbai,[15] Mauritius, Fiji, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, other parts of the Caribbean, United States, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Macau, Japan, and Indonesia.

Chhath Puja 2019 Dates[edit]

Chhath is also celebrated in the summer (March–April), on Chaitra Shashthi, this event is called Chaiti Chhath.[16]

Rituals and traditions[edit]

The main worshipers, called Parvaitin (from Sanskrit parv, meaning 'occasion' or 'festival'), are usually women. However, a large number of men also observe this festival as Chhath is not a gender-specific festival.[17] The parvaitin pray for the well-being of their family, and for the prosperity of their offsprings. Once a family member starts performing Chhath Puja, it is their compulsory duty to perform it every year and to pass it on to the following generations. The festival is skipped only if there happens to be a death in the family that year. If the person stops performing the ritual on any particular year, it stops permanently and one cannot resume it again.

The prasad offerings include sweets, Kheer, Thekua, rice laddu(made of rice grit) and fruits (mainly sugarcane, sweet lime and banana) offered in small bamboo soop winnows. The food is strictly vegetarian and is cooked without salt, onions or garlic. Emphasis is put on maintaining the purity of the food.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chhath festival celebrated in India and Nepal begins today : The Indian Express". Archived from the original on 5 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Chhath natively celebrated in India and Nepal has significance in Hindu Culture". Archived from the original on 5 November 2016.
  3. ^ Subhamoy Das. "Chhath Puja". About Religion. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Festivals of India And Nepal - CHHATH FESTIVAL". Archived from the original on 7 June 2009.
  5. ^ "A festival not confined to Bihar". Archived from the original on 23 December 2017.
  6. ^ "No Nepalese and Bihari diasporas want to stay out of home in Chhath :: Patna Reportings". Archived from the original on 18 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Some Muslims too celebrate Chhath in Bihar". Archived from the original on 26 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Chhath at the crossroads". Archived from the original on 6 November 2016.
  9. ^ "Chhath rituals bring family together". Archived from the original on 24 October 2017.
  10. ^ Sah, Jitendra (8 November 2016). "Sun worshippers". The Kathmandu Post. Archived from the original on 11 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016. Some devotees go to river banks to worship the sun by prostrating themselves the entire distance.
  11. ^ "Chhath the most eco-friendly festival: Environmentalists". Archived from the original on 11 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Ode to god of green things". Archived from the original on 1 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Surat 1 lakh to celebrate chhath puja". Jai Bihar. 22 October 2009. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  14. ^ "15 lakh to observe Chhath Puja in Delhi". Jai Bihar. 22 October 2009. Archived from the original on 2 November 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  15. ^ "Juhu Beach decks up for worshiping the sun god". DNA India. 24 October 2009. Archived from the original on 28 February 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  16. ^ "Chaiti Chhath to start today". Jai Bihar. 30 March 2009. Archived from the original on 4 January 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  17. ^ "Men not far behind women in celebrating Chhath". Archived from the original on 11 November 2016.
  18. ^ "'Rasiao-kheer', 'thekua' make for festive platter". The Times of India. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2012.