Chhath Puja is One Of the biggest festivals of Bihar. It is a famous festival that is dedicated to the Sun and Chhath Maiya or Goddess Chhath. There are no idols that are worshipped in this festival.
The fasting for Chhath puja is a difficult one and goes on for four days continuously. Following the rituals of this puja is considered challenging because it involves abstaining from drinking water while fasting, bathing in the holy water as well as standing in the water for long hours. It also includes offering arghya and prasad while the sun rises. Some devotees are even to perform a prostration march when they go to the river bank.
Usually, the dates for Chhath puja falls in the month of October or November after Diwali. Typically, women follow the rituals at this festival. However, it is not gender-specific, so even men observe all the norms of this festival sometimes. The prayers during this festival are usually associated with the well-being of a family. According to some traditions, the norms of Chhath Puja are very strict, and if a person starts following the puja, he/she must do it every year. This is also followed by the generations that follow. However, if there is a death in the family in the same year, they can skip it. Some even believe that if the puja is skipped one year, they cannot resume it again.
There are also special prasad and offerings associated with Chhath puja. It includes things like rice laddu, thekua, kheer, and fruits such as banana, sweet lime, and sugarcane. These offerings are put together in a small bamboo soop for the Goddess. During this time, the food that is cooked is also strictly vegetarian without any garlic, onion or salt. There is a lot of emphasis on maintaining purity while cooking and consuming food.
This festival is also one of the biggest in some of the Northern states and holds a lot of significance. These days north Indians who celebrate Chhath are scattered around the world so you can see the celebrations in other states and countries too. There are associations in the South of India also that organizes Chhath puja so that the followers can do the puja with ease and comfort. These associations make sure that there is a water body for the argh and offerings. This makes sure that people can stand in the water and give their offerings to the rising sun.
So, this chhath, don’t forget to enjoy some of the delicious sweets like Thekua and rice that are specially prepared for the prasad. The rituals are difficult, but they are very fulfilling at the same time. Hence, even if you are not fasting this Chhath puja, it would be worth visiting the place where people give their offerings to the rising sun to receive some positive vibes.