Monday, October 21, 2013

Chhath Puja - Worshipping Lord Sun for Blessing life on Earth

Chhath Puja is a Hindu festival devoted to the god of energy Lord Surya and is the only Vedic festival which is entirely dedicated to him. It is celebrated on the sixth day of Kartik which falls in the Gregorian month of October or November. The wish fulfilling deity is believed to bestow happiness in life and is also believed to give child to the mother who is infertile. Lord Surya is worshipped for blessing the life on earth as ever. The devotees wake up early in the morning of this festival keep fast for entire day without drinking water and for long period of time they keep themselves standing on the water.

Before the start of this festival, banks of rivers are cleaned and festooned and sanctified with decorative and pure waters. Woman prepares delicacies at home and husband or any other members of the family guard the Ghats (venue) all night. In the early morning of the main day of the Puja, traditional songs are carried out with woman offering prayers and edibles to the Lord thanking the god for blessing the life on earth. Chhathi Maiya is also worshipped along with Lord Sun.    

History: It is supposed that the oldest Purohits were asked to come by the Kings and perform their traditional Puja of the Lord Sun where they sued to chant the ancient hymns and Rigveda texts to worship the sun. The ancient Chhath Puja was celebrated by Pandavas and Draupadi to regain their lost kingdom. According to legends, it was the son of Surya, Karna who first commenced this Puja. Worship of Chhathi Maiya also known as Usha (the first light of the day) is held at Chhath Puja. People pray to Chhathi Maiya to overcome their troubles and to get the liberation (Moksha).

Another legend says that, Lord Rama and Mata Sita observed fast and offer Puja to the Lord Sun during their coronation before returning to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. They observed this Puja in the Hindu month of Kartik in Shukla Paksh, since then it became significant and is celebrated on the same date by Hindu devotees of the Lord Sun.    
Main Activities & attractions:

Ø Herds of devotees lining across the river for worshipping the Sun lord.
Ø Traditional and folk songs.
Ø Illumination of the Chhath venue on the banks of river at night.
Ø Offering of Jal (water) to the sun.
Ø Kosi-a colourful event is displayed.
Ø Special delicacies are prepared Thekuwa, Bhusuwa etc.
Ø Offering prayers to Lord Sun by dipping half body in water.
Ø Decoration of the Ghats.

Bihar: The Indian start of Bihar is the main place for the celebration of this festival. The four day festival is observed by the people of Bihar especially the people residing in the Northern part of Bihar are merited to observe this festival in the most grandiose way possible. The son of Lord Sun, Karna first observed this festival to worship the Lord, when he was the king of a place in today’s Bihar. From then the people of Bihar like every year to seek blessings from the Lord and also from Chhathi Maiya.  

Apart from Bihar, Chhath Puja is celebrated in various places in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Jharkhand and also some parts of Nepal.