Chhath Puja is a Journey of Faith and Devotion
Emerging from the heart of India’s rich cultural tapestry, Chhath Puja stands as a beacon of faith and devotion, celebrated with fervor and unwavering reverence in the state of Bihar. This four-day observance, from 17– 20 Nov, 2023, dedicated to the worship of Lord Surya, the Sun God, and Chhathi Maiya, the embodiment of cosmic energy, is a testament to the profound connection between humanity and the natural world.
A Spiritual Odyssey: The Four-Day Observance
The Chhath Puja journey unfolds over four days, each marked by distinct rituals and spiritual significance.
1. Nhayati: Purification and Preparation
The first day, Nhayati, begins with a sacred bath in the holy waters of the Ganges River or a nearby pond. This act of purification cleanses both body and soul, preparing devotees for the spiritual journey ahead.
2. Kharna: Fasting and Devotion
The second day, Kharna, is characterized by a strict fast, with devotees abstaining from all food and water. During this time of introspection, they prepare offerings for the Sun God, including prasad (sweet offering) and a special type of rice pudding called kheer.
3. Sanjhiya Arghya: Honoring the Setting Sun
The third day, Sanjhiya Arghya, witnesses a spectacle of devotion. Devotees gather at the banks of rivers or ponds, carrying intricately crafted bamboo baskets filled with offerings. As the sun begins its descent, they wade into the water, facing the setting sun, and offer the prasad and kheer, expressing their gratitude for the life-sustaining power of the Sun God.
4. Surya Arghya: Welcoming the Rising Sun
The culmination of Chhath Puja arrives with the fourth day, Surya Arghya. Devotees rise before dawn and return to the riverbank, this time facing the rising sun. They offer the remaining prasad and kheer, welcoming the new day with renewed hope and faith.
A Cultural Tapestry: Celebration and Unity
Chhath Puja transcends religious and social boundaries, bringing together people from all walks of life. It is a festival of unity, where communities come together to celebrate their shared devotion to the Sun God and Chhathi Maiya.
A Testament to Resilience: Unveiling the Significance
Chhath Puja is not just a festival; it is a testament to the resilience and unwavering faith of the people of Bihar. It is a celebration of life, a reminder of the interconnectedness between humanity and nature, and a profound expression of gratitude for the divine power that sustains us all.
Geographical Span: Where Does Chhath Puja Shine?
Chhath Puja is predominantly celebrated in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal, and in the Nepalese provinces of Koshi, Madhesh, and Lumbini. Its reach extends beyond these borders, as communities of the Bhojpuri diaspora observe the festival in other parts of India and around the world, including Mauritius, Fiji, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Chhath Puja stands as a vibrant cultural gem, a testament to the deep-rooted traditions and unwavering faith of communities across India and the world. It is a celebration of life, a reminder of our connection to the natural world, and an expression of gratitude for the divine forces that guide our existence.