The most Important Festival of Bihar, Eastern Up, Jharkhand and Nepal.
Chhath is the most revered and pious festival of Bihar. It speaks highly of the deep rooted folk culture and heritage of the state. The word Chhath denotes the number six as it commences on the sixth day from Amavasya (Diwali). Devoted to the Sun God, Chhath requires an arduous observance of fast without water for more than 24 hours. The Parvaitin (one who observes the parv/puja) follows a period of abstinence and segregation from the main household for two days and is also supposed to carry the ritual of bathing in the holy water of Ganges only.
The Fast (Vrat) begins on Kartik shukla Chaturthi, as Home cleanliness is observed from Diwali, Even Onions and Garlic are usually not Consumed by Whole Family.
1st Day is Nahay Khay( Kartik Shukla Chaturthi)
On the first day of Chhath, the parvaitin (Vratee or who does the Fast in local language) takes the holy bath and cooks a proper meal sans onion and garlic. Food should contain Rice and Bottlegourd and Gram pulse prepared with hygiene, Her fast begins after the meal and is only broken on the next evening.
2nd Day Kharna – Kartik Shukla Panchami (word comes from the hindi word Kheer ) – On the second day of the festival, the parvaitin cooks the prasad on her own that includes kheer and chapattis. She breaks her fast with this prasad and the leftovers are distributed as the most pious prasad of Chhathi maiyya(sister of lord surya and wife of lord subramanyam/kartikeya).
3rd Day Sandhya Arghya- Kartik Shukla Shasthi (Main Day of Chhath Puja)– The two day fast begins, on the third day of the puja. The parvaitin along with the devotees, walk to the Ghats to offer Arghya to the setting sun. they usually carry basket with fruits and special thekua prepared with utmost hygeine. The Arghya is an offering of milk and gangajal and is considered to be amrit. When I said that compliance of Chhath is arduous, I was not just referring to the fasts. Since Chhath is celebrated in winters, it is mighty difficult for the parvaitins and devotees alike to stand waist deep in the chilly waters of the river and offer Arghya. It is believed that one who observes Chhath must not wear anything stitched. Hence, most parvaitins (brave they must be) just drape a sari around them!. u will be amazed to witness this Beautiful Festival. after First araghya they will go to home and all prasads are kept like that in home as it is not completed yet.
4th Day Usha Arghya- Kartik Shukla Saptami – The journey towards the Ghats begins again early morning on the fourth day. Personally, my favourite part of the festival (except for the part where we get prasad, of course!), where the sky is still mahogany black and millions of diyas and fireworks enlighten the Ghats; the sight is nothing less than a magical procession. Truly, one can only witness the event to understand and feel the sheer piety and beauty of this festival. The entire Ghat is decorated with terracotta lamps and canopies of sugar-cane stalks where the devotees keep their soops (baskets). Each soop consists of the Chhath prasad that includes and the first crop of the season. The morning Arghya is offered again to the rising sun with hymns and folk songs, praying to the Sun god to ward off evil and dark spirits and enlighten the world with sanctity and goodness.
To listen Beautiful and melodious Songs of Chhath puja
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