Chhath Puja 2021 falls on 10th November 2021.
Chhath Puja falls on the sixth day of Kartik Shukla Paksha
The preparations for Chhath Puja start after the Diwali festival. People in some parts of North India, mainly in Bihar, Jharkhand & Eastern Uttar Pradesh celebrate with full zeal & devotion. These days, we can see the celebration in many other areas across the country.
It is a four-day festival specially dedicated to Surya God (Chhathi Maiya). It starts with the rituals of Nahay Khay and gets continued till Usha Arghya.
The devotees believe that Chhathi Maiya protects their children and keep them safe & healthy.
Chhath Puja 2021 will also be celebrated as four days festival like every year-
Four Days celebration of Chhath Puja 2021-
Day one- Nahay Khay
Nahay Khay means that People will take a Holy Dip in the river to clean themselves.
Day two -Kharna –
The second day is the day for Purification of mind and soul
Day three -Sandhya Arghy
On this day, Puja of Bhagwan Surya at the riverbank in the evening (sunset time) is performed.
Day four -Sandhya Arghy
The fourth day is the day for Puja of Sun God at the riverbank in the morning (sunrise time)
It is a first-day celebration of the chat festival that occurs on the Chaturthi Tithi of Kartik. Devotees take a holy bath and cook Prasad essentially with Chawal (rice), chana dal (split Bengal gram) and lauki (bottle gourd), pumpkin etc. The devotees & their family members take special care of purity and cleanliness.
Kharna is the name of the second day of celebration. The devotees pay special importance to keeping their mind and soul cool, composed & pure. Prasad is prepared with jaggery and rice. After having this Prasad, devotees keep a nirjala Vrat (Fasting without having food or water) till the Usha Arghy. This fasting takes around 36 hours.
Sandhya Arghy is given on the third day of the Chhath Puja. Devotees with their family members go to the river banks. Devotees offer Arghy to Sun God and worship Chhati Maiya in the dusk hours.
They offer Sugar cane, seasonal fruits and vegetables, especially cooked newly cultivated rice as Prasad in this puja.
Usha Arghy is an early morning prayer to the Sun God on Seventh-day (Saptami), the fourth and final day of Chhat Puja. The devotees break their fast on Saptami, termed as Paran Day.
Why a special arrangement is needed for Arghi Puja?
Sometimes it is not convenient for every devotee to go to the banks of the river or a nearby pond to perform the ritual of Arghya Puja. People make some temporary ponds in their homes or in their own locality at a convenient commonplace like a park etc. to perform the Arghi ritual. For this, the government and local authorities also make necessary arrangements.
This year due to the pandemic, the Delhi government is making special arrangements. According to the information, the Delhi government has built about 800 ghats to avoid crowd gathering.
Mythological Approach of Chhath Puja:
It is not known when Chhath Puja started, but information about this worship is definitely found in our ancient texts.
It is believed that Lord Rama is a Suryavanshi because he belongs to the Lord Surya family. When Lord Rama, along with Goddess Sita and brother Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya after their exile, they all worshipped the Sun God, observing a fast till the morning of the next day.
The ritual of praying Sun was later followed by the people and evolved into Chhath Puja.
It is mentioned in the Mahabharata that Kunti’s son Karna worshipped Lord Surya with devotion while standing in the water. After performing the puja, he distributed prasad and daan (charity) among the needy people. Draupadi also worshipped the Sun God as described in the text of Mahabharata.
Sun, the Lord of Energy
In addition to all mythological perspectives, the Sun is considered the source of energy and light. The Sun is also responsible to balance our ecosystem. We cannot imagine life without the Sun.
Chhath Puja has also been linked with agriculture. It occurs immediately after the harvest of the paddy crop. The devotees celebrate it as a token of gratitude to Lord Surya for the prosperity and happiness gifted by agriculture.