Chhath Puja is one of the main festivals in our country. It has special significance in Uttar Pradesh and especially in Bihar. Chhath is not just a festival, but a wholesome experience for devotees which lasts for a full four days. It begins with bathing and eating and later ends by offering arghya to the setting and rising sun.
During this, a strict fasting of almost 36 hours is kept. This festival is celebrated twice a year. First time in Chaitra and the second time in Kartik. The Chhath festival celebrated on Chaitra Shukla Paksha Shashti is called ‘Chaiti Chhath’ and the festival celebrated on Kartik Shukla Paksha Shashthi is called ‘Kartiki Chhath’.
Mother Sita Also Worshiped The Surya Devta
There are many mythological stories prevalent in the context of how the tradition of Chhath Puja started. According to one belief, when Rama-Sita returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, they decided to perform the Rajasurya Yagya on the orders of the sages to get rid of the sin of killing Ravana. He invited Mugdal Rishi for worship. Sage Mugdal sanctified Mother Sita by sprinkling Gangajal and asked her to worship the Surya Devta on the sixth day of Shukla Paksha of Kartik month.
With this, Sita stayed in the ashram of Mugdal Rishi and worshiped the Surya Devta for six days. On Saptami, again at sunrise, after performing the rituals, she got blessings from the Surya Devta.
Chhath Festival Started In The Mahabharata Period
According to another Hindu belief, the Chhath festival started in the Mahabharata period. This festival was first started by Suryaputra Karna by worshiping the Surya Devta. It is said that Karna was an ardent devotee of Lord Surya and he used to stand in the water for hours every day and offer Arghya to him. He then became a great warrior only by the grace of Surya. Even today this tradition of offering Arghya is prevalent in Chhath.
Chhath Fast Was Also Kept By Draupadi
There is another story about the Chhath festival. Draupadi observed Chhath fast when the Pandavas lost the entire kingdom in gambling. His wish was fulfilled by this fast and the Pandavas got everything back.
According to folk tradition, the relation of Sun God and Chhathi Mayya is that of brother and sister. Therefore, worshiping the sun on the occasion of Chhath was considered fruitful.
What Is The Mythological Significance Of Chhath?
According to the Puranas, a king named Priyavrata had no children. Maharishi Kashyap advised the king to perform Putrayeshti Yagya to get a child. After the yajna, the queen gave birth to a son, but he was born dead. The whole city mourned the news of the dead child of the king. It is said that when the king was preparing to bury the dead child, a luminous plane from the sky landed on the earth. The goddess sitting in it said, ‘I am Shashti Devi and the protector of all the children of the world.’ Saying this, the goddess touched the dead body of the infant, from which he became alive. Since then, the king has announced the celebration of this festival in his kingdom.
The Things You Should Do in Chhath Puja
In Chhath Puja, a complete 36-hour waterless fast is observed both by men and women for the good health, success, and longevity of the child. This fast is indeed difficult, so keep some important things in mind to get the most benefit from this auspicious festival.
- It is necessary to clean all the grains, and utensils used for puja purposes.
- Use only a new stove for preparing Chhath Prasad.
- Use only natural materials
The Initiative Taken by The Delhi Government During Chhath Puja 2022
The LG of Delhi has said that the Kejriwal government misrepresented the people for not permitting worship on the banks of Yamuna. The LG has objected that the puja was to be held at some selected ghats only, but how it was told by the Kejriwal government sent a wrong message that worship can be done anywhere on the Yamuna. The LG has also directed the Ministry of Revenue and Environment to strictly follow the orders of the NGT on the banks of Yamuna.