How Chhath Puja is Celebrated

Learn about the festival from Bihar dedicated to the Sun God

By Samoolam

Devotees at the ghatSamoolam

Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja is a Hindu Vedic festival celebrated in the Indian Sub-Continent, prominently in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and some areas in Madhya Pradesh in India and a few regions of Nepal.

Devotees at the ghat making offeringsSamoolam

It is dedicated to the Sun God (Surya Dev) and Chhathi (Shashti) Devi or Maiya (Mother) and clocked twice every year— during two Indian months — Chaitra (March-April) and Kartika (October-November).

Devotees at the ghatSamoolam

In Bihar, it is the latter that is believed and famous, and occurs 6 days after Diwali. "It falls in Suklapaskh of Kartika Maasa (month),” says Rama, a rural artisan of Samoolam Crafts India in Gaya (Bihar). 

Basket of offering with diyasSamoolam

According to her, Shukla Paksha is the waxing moon period of 15 days, starting on a new moon (Amavasya) and ending on a full moon (Purnima). 

Devotees at the ghatSamoolam

Women sing songs and celebrate the six-day-long period with happy festivities and lot of colour in their lives, surroundings, clothing and food. 

Devotees at the ghatSamoolam

But the women observe a grave fast, sometimes even without water, what is known as Nir Jal Vrat

Devotees cooking at Kali GhatSamoolam

Finally, at the end of the phase, the fast is broken by cooking and eating a range of simple, homecooked but delectable dishes like chana dal (cooked Bengal gram), arwa chawal (boiled rice) (arwa chawal), lauki sabji and saag (bottle gourd curry and greens), and mitti ke bartan mein banni gur ka kheer (rice pudding cooked in an earthen pot). 

OfferingSamoolam

Chhath Puja is not idolatry in nature and a number of environmentalists consider it as a very eco-friendly way of celebrating the elements of Nature (derived from age-old Pagan worship). 

Devotees at the ghatSamoolam

The women believe this rigorous fasting, when combined with auspicious celebration and handmade details, fulfils all their wishes (manokamna). 

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