According to the Hindu calendar, Chhath Puja is a four-day festival dedicated to Lord Surya and Chhathi Maiya. This year the festival starts with Nahay Khay on November 8, 2021, and ends with Usha Arghya on November 11, 2021. The auspicious day starts after the sixth day of Diwali and on the sixth day in the month of Kartik. Usha Arghya has a 36-hour long nirjala festival offering arghya during sunrise.
The festival is celebrated in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, and also in Nepal for the worship of Lord Surya. Lord Surya is worshipped by vratis or devotees for the prosperity and well-being of the family members. Commonly, women observe fast on chhath but nowadays, men also follow it.
Significance of Chhath Puja 2021:
It is believed that the Chhath puja has its origin from Rig Veda and in ancient times, Draupadi and Pandavas of Hastinapur also celebrate this festival to solve problems of getting back their lost kingdom. As per the ancient tradition, Chhath puja was initially performed by Karna, who is considered as the offspring of Lord Surya and Kunti. During the times of Mahabharata, he ruled in Anga Desh, which is the modern Bhagalpur in Bihar.
Rituals of Chhath Puja 2021:
- Devotees should take a holy bath early in the morning.
- They wear clean clothes and give prasad to the idols of Lord Surya.
- On the first day of Chhath puja, the prasad includes Chana daal and Kaddoo Bhaat as a popular prasad.
- The second day is called Kharna, where prasad is made up of kheer with gud and arwa chawal.
- After taking the prasad, devotees continue an arduous nirjala fast without water for 36 hours.
- The third day is observed without consumption of water.
- The devotees start eating Satvik food i.e. without onion and garlic.
- Fasting is observed for 36 hours, which lasts for 4 days and the fast continues for the entire night till the sunrise of the next day.
- The prasad of thekua including jaggery, ghee, and flour is prepared by the devotees and consumed at sunset along with family members offering arghya to Lord Surya in the water body known as Sandhya Arghya or Pehli Arghya.’
- Mantras are chanted from the Rig Veda by offering prayers to the sun.
- The prasad is not touched with salt.
- The final day, i.e., is the fourth day of Chhath puja and is known as Paran Din, where devotees offer Usha Arghya or Dusri Argya to the sun with feet dipped in a water body like lake, river, or sea for ending the fast by distributing prasad.
Day 1: Nahay Khay
The first day is known as Nahay Khay and devotees, especially women, observe fast by taking a holy dip in Ganga by consuming only a single meal.
This year the Chhath puja is on November 08, 2021 and sunrise happens at 06:46 AM and sunset at 05:26 PM.
Day 2: Kharna
The second day is called Kharna and the fast starts from sunrise till sunset without consumption of water. The fast ends by offering food to the sun and chhath Mata. Women start the fast by taking prasad.
The day is observed on November 09, 2021, and sunrise at 06:39 AM and 05:30 PM at sunset.
Day 3: Sandhya Arghya
On the third day of Chhath, devotees observe a fast without water and are known as Sandhya Arghya. On this particular day, arghya is offered to the setting sun.
The Sandhya Arghya falls on November 10, 2021, with sunrise at 06:40 AM while sunset is 05:30 PM.
Day 4: Usha Arghya
The fourth and final day of the auspicious Chhath puja is called Usha Arghya. This time, the arghya is offered to the rising sun and the long fast of 36 hours is broken by giving prayers to the sun.
Usha Arghya will be observed on November 11 with sunrise and sunset timings to be at 06:41 AM and 05:29 PM respectively.