Destinations Magazine

The Worship of The Sun – Chaath Puja at Home

By Eternallydeniedsoul

`Chaath puja` is one of the most important festivals of Indian states of Bihar,Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. It usually falls few days after the `Diwali`- the festival of lights. The word chhath denotes the number 6 in hindi  and the festival is celebrated on the sixth day of the Hindu lunar month of kartika.

I grew up in Bihar as a child,and thus had a fondness for the festival from an early age. It was the only festival when my whole family used to gather at home,no matter where we lived for the rest of the year,`chaath puja` was rarely missed by anyone.  `Chaath puja` is the worship of sun god,and the consort of sun,Chaath goddess,as sun is the most important element of our world, we worship it and thank it for being there,shining on us,giving us life and to ensure the longevity and prosperity of family members, friends, and elders.

This year`s celebration was also much like the earlier ones,same zeal and energy. I went home 3 days before the festival. Now,the festival lasts for 4 days. non-stop religious songs keep playing in every home for these 4 days,anybody rarely sleeps for these four days,such is the enthusiasm of peple for the festival.Now,even before the festival starts we have to abdicate non-veg food,even turmeric and garlic is forbidden in food.


And there is always one main worshipper from each home,the one who will be bathing in the river and worship the sun god. He or she has to follow all the rituals during these four days.

Day 1- The 1st day is usually preparing for the next days,lots of fruits and sweets are made to be offered to the gods. We clean our homes,and the streets nearby. The best thing is that no matter who it is,a simple vegetable seller in front of my home,or the rich doctors behind,all of us work in harmony in the festive mood. Then food is made on earthen stoves,and new utensils or the utensils used only for this festival.


Day 2- The main worshipper holds a fast for the whole day,which ends after the sunset. Sweet rice delicacy and bananas are served to him/her. Then every member of the family eats the offerings of rice and banana. From this day onwards the main worshipper goes into a 36 hours fast with no food and water.

Day 3 -  On this day,at evening,the whole family goes to the nearby pond or river to worship the setting sun. Now for the details,the whole day is spent in preparations,the sweets and fruits are kept in bamboo winnows. Then some of the members of the family carry these on their head to the river (in our town we have a low scale river). There many strict rule of this day,once bathed you have to remain pure till the evening puja,if you even go to the toilet you have to bath again (not valid for kids anymore). The whole route from the home to the river has to be covered bare foot,no matter how far it is.Let me tell you,the roads of our state is not in good conditions,so it`s extremely painful sometimes. the most important rule,once you take bamboo winnow of fruits on your head,you have to carry it to the river,without stopping. The main worshipper have to travel the whole route by offering their devotion through lying on the road and holding their hands,offering `pranam`.


The scene at the river is exotic,it feels like a carnival,hundreds of people gather to offer their respect.

Day 4- The same routine of the earlier evening is repeated only,this time it is the rising sun. we have to gather before sunrise in the river with all the fruits and sweet. In the morning it is much tougher than the evenings,because of the winters,the water is ice cold,and standing i the water for aabout an hour can leave your feet numb. Anyways,after the offerings are made to the god,all the fruits have to be carried back home. Then at home some rituals are fulfilled and the `prasad` is distributed among everyone.


And the festival ends with fireworks at night,and lots of happiness in our heart.


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