The grand festival of Chhath Puja begins today and will be celebrated for next four days. Chhath is supposed to be very significant festival of Eastern India particularly celebrated in Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and some part of Northern India as well. Offering water to deity Sun at rise and set is completely dedicated to nature. Nature is known as ‘Chhathi Mata’ (Mother Nature), God Brahma’s daughter. She has power to give child to childless and protect them from any difficulty in life. Orbiting the Sun during offering water shows the respect to Mother Nature. According to available scriptures, individual’s all the sins of any birth destruct automatically if they offer water to Sun during Chhath Puja festival. Grand festival of Chhath is as a means of purification of body, mind and soul.
On this four days holy occasion of Chhath, People proceed to different sources of water such as river, ponds, lakes etc to orbiting the sun and offers water started with sunset on day 3 and end with sunrise on final day. In addition, they offer pure cow milk at sunrise along with water. People also offer seasonal fruits; handmade sweets to deity sun and show their respect for nature to give everything in life. ‘Chhath Vrati’ (Individuals who participates in this ritual) keeps fast for regular 36 hours from just after ‘Kharna’, which is an important part of this grand ritual lies on second day of Chhath Puja. Prior to Kharna, ritula of Chath Puja starts with Nahay-Khay (Take Holy Bath & Eat Food) on very first day of this grand festival. People take a holy bath and cook the food specially rice, pulse and vegetable of pumpkin by their own with much purified manner and have it on same day.
Chhath Puja is concluded on fourth day followed by adoration of the rising sun and it is called ‘Paaran’ day, which is final day of entire ritual. After the conclusion, people take Prasad which was offered to deity sun during adoration of complete Chaath Puja event.
The grand festival of Chhath Puja has broken the barriers of state in last 10-12 years and celebrates in all over India and abroad particularly at places where people of Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh have made their permanent or temporary habitat. The festival of Chhath is also a symbol of communal harmony in India. According to scriptures Chhath festival is being celebrated in India from ancient time and gives the message of growth, brotherhood, peace, prosperity and happiness to the whole world.
Presently, chhath puja is also playing a significant role to increase the tourist flow to Bihar and related states. Traveller who keeps interest in cultural tourism or community based tourism comes to see this grand festival every year in large numbers from other part of India and abroad as well. Chhath puja is celebrated by approx 20% of total population of India and its importance is increasing day by day. Bihar Tourism department is trying to highlight & develop Chhath Puja festival as a cultural tourism product. Every year a massive number of researchers come to Bihar and other states to collect all the information about this ancient Hindu ritual from other countries.