Chhath is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival historically native to the Indian subcontinent. More specifically, the Indian states of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and, Jharkhand and the Madhesh region of Nepal. The Chhath Puja is dedicated to the Solar deity (Surya). Mainly to thank him for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. This festival is observed by Biharis & Nepalese along with their diaspora.
The festival is dedicated to worship Lord Surya (the Sun deity). “Chhathi Maiya” is the mother goddess who provides strength and support to the poor. She is worshipped as the “Goddess of the festival”. The Sun is offered arghya (a special type of offering) in the evening of the first day and in the morning of the second day.The rituals are observed over four days. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vrata), standing in water for long periods, and offering prasad (prayer offerings) and arghya to the setting and rising sun. Some devotees also perform a prostration march as they head for the river banks.
Environmentalists have claimed that the festival of Chhath is one of the most eco-friendly religious festivals that should be used to spread “the message of nature conservation”. Moreover, it’s arguably one of few Hindu festivals that transcend the rigid caste system, which emerged in the post-Vedic period, to touch upon the ideas of “equality, fraternity, unity and integrity. Every devotee—elite or middle class (and caste)—prepares almost similar Prasad and other items to offer to the Almighty. All the devotees without any distinction in caste, color or economy, arrive at the bank of rivers or ponds for extending prayers.”
Celebrated across India and world
Although the festival is observed most elaborately in the Madhesh (southern) region of Nepal and east Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh & Jharkhand. it is also prevalent in areas where migrants from those areas have a presence. It is celebrated in all Northern regions and major Northern urban centers in India. The festival is celebrated in the regions including but not exclusive to the northeast region of India. Eg: Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Mumbai. Also Other countries Like Mauritius, Fiji, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, other parts of the Caribbean, United States, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Macau, Japan and Indonesia.
Chhath Puja, also known as Surya Shashthi, is celebrated on Kartik Shukla Shashthi. Six days after Diwali, Chhath Puja is observed. This event takes place on the sixth day of Kartik month. A wash and a supper kick off the event. Women fast for 36 hours and worship Chhath Mayya and Surya at this time. This celebration is mainly popular in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand in India. The Chhath Puja festival is held to wish children happiness, prosperity, and a long life. Chhathi Maiya is Lord Surya’s sister, according to legend.