Month of October is known for festivals. All festivals come one after another and Chhath is the last one which follows the festival of lights, Diwali. Chhath is known for ritual offering made to the Sun God at the bank of rivers or ponds. It is considered to be a mean to thank the Sun for bestowing the bounties of life on earth, also for fulfilling particular wishes. Festival is celebrated on the river bands. With no temple to visit and offering to both raising and setting Sun makes it unique and different from others.
The word ‘Chhath’ denotes the number ‘six’ and thus the festival begins on the sixth day of the Hindu month of ‘Kartik’ in the Hindu lunar calendar. Chhata particularly finishes in four days. In the first day devotees take a dip and bring water to prepare offerings for puja. In the second day; known as “Kharna” devotees fast for the whole day which is broken in the evening. The main festival starts in day three called as “Parna”. Devotees are busy preparing offerings. At the evening devotees go to river bands/ponds and offerings are made to the setting Sun. In the evening the devotees move to home and start preparing for next and final day. On this day final offering is made to the raising sun marking the end of the festival. At that day devotees break their fast.
Chhath is celebrated mainly in Bihar, Utter Pradesh of India and Terai Region of Nepal. But popularity of Chhath is increasing day by day. Chhath has marked its presence even in big capital cities like Kathmandu and Delhi.
Not only as a religious custom chhath has caltural importance too. The night between day 3 and 4 is marked with all the celebrations. Loud and devotional music reverberates in the air, purifying the whole atmosphere. Folk songs are sung both at home and on the riverbank. Every remains stay awake whole night waiting to welcome raising sun. Some one is busy in taking care of devotees as he/she has un-broken fasting for almost two days and others are busy enjoying the excitement of chhath.
Chhath is unique in many ways. Probably this is one of few festivals where there is no discrimination of gender and cast or religion. Even in some places Muslims also celebrate Chhath. Everyone is welcome to celebrate the festival. It is said that no one cares about setting sun, but this festival start with worshiping setting sun. Above all Chhath gives an opportunity to unite all and forget the difference. Worshiping a setting sun and waiting for raising sun gives clear message if some body goes down in course of life he/she must come up like raising sun. There can be dark nights in between setting down and rising up all is the matter of time.
Lets Enjoy Chhath …..