Is Chhath Puja a Public Holiday?
Chhath Puja (Pratihar Sashthi/Surya Sashthi) is an optional public holiday in India. This means that some Indian states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand etc. consider this day as a state and public holiday, which means that shops, stores, shopping stores, public places and much more either remain closed on this day or operate during restrictive hours.
Schools, universities, colleges, academic institutions, government offices and public dealing offices throughout the country remain closed. Public transport services remain functional throughout the day but follow a fixed schedule.
Chhath Puja History
Chhath Puja history holds relevant significance and commemorates the beginning of its observance. Chhath Puja is known to be a Vedic ritual performed by devotees while venerating Goddess Shashthi or Chhathi Maiya and Surya Dev, a Hindu solar deity. Both these supreme beings are hailed on this day and venerated with utter devotion, love and dedication.
Why is Chhathi Maiya Venerated on Chhath Puja
Chhathi Maiya, also known as Goddess Shashthi, is worshipped by the devotees on this day. In Hinduism, Chhathi Maiya or Shashthi Devi is entitled as the “Manas” daughter of one of the Tridevas, Lord Brahma and revered majorly on the day of Chhath Puja or Surya Sashthi.
It is believed that by worshipping Chhathi Maiya on this day, children attain longevity, and the Goddess blesses them with her care and protection.
Why is Lord Sun Venerated on Chhath Puja
The day of Chhath Puja is dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun God. In both astrology and astronomy, the planet Sun is believed to be the source of life on Earth, which is why it is worshipped on the day of Chhath Puja and thanked for bestowing his generosity on Earth that led to the formation of life.
In Hindu Vedas, the rays of the Sun is believed to destroy diseases, illnesses and negativity. An auspicious Sun bestows one with good health, self-confidence and wealth. In Vedic astrology, the planet Sun is known to be the benefactor of Father, Soul. Ancestors, Government Jobs and Respect. Lord Sun is worshipped on this auspicious day by women for longevity of their kids and fulfilment of desires.
Chhath Puja Celebrations: A Four-Day Festival
As per the Hindu Panchang, Chhath Puja, also known as Surya Shashthi, falls on the day of Kartik Shukla Shashthi and ends on the Kartik Shukla Saptami. Two types of Chhath Puja are observed by devotees:
- Chaitra Chhath - Celebrated in the Hindu month of Chaitra of Vikram Samvat.
- Kartik Chhath - Celebrated in the Hindu month of Kartika of Vikram Samvat.
Nahay Khay (First Day)
Nahay Khay commences the first day of Chhath Puja, where the native takes a dip in the holy waters of Ganges, purifies the surroundings with Gangajal and consumes vegetarian food “Kaddu-Bhat” once in a day that is cooked over a soil stove with mango wood fire.
Kharna (Second Day)
The second day of Chhath Puja is called Kharna, where devotees fast throughout the day without consuming a single drop of water.
After venerating Lord Sun in the evening, devotees break their fast and eat Rasiao Kheer (sweetened rice pudding made with jaggery), puris and fruits.
Sandhya Arghya (Third Day)
The third day is dedicated to Lord Sun, where the devotees offer Arghya on the Kartik Shukla Shashthi to the Sun. People adorn turmeric-yellow or saffron/Bhagwa colored clothes, and offer Sandhya Arghya to Lord Sun at the bank of the river.
In the evening, people decorate a bamboo basket with Thekua, Rice Laddoos and fruits and offer a mixture of water and milk to Lord Sun and venerate Chhathi Maiya with a soop of prasad. After this local songs hailing Shashthi Devi are sung and Vrat Katha is recited.
During the night, the vibrant event of Kosla Bharai is celebrated by the devotees, where five diyas made of clay are lit under the five sticks of sugarcane representing the Pancha Tattva (Air, Water, Earth, Fire and Space).
Usha Arghya (Fourth Day)
On the fourth and last day of Chhath Puja, devotees stand knee-high in the water before sunrise to offer Arghya to the Sun and venerate the Goddess. Then, women perform Parana by consuming a little piece of ginger covered in honey or with jaggery, then drinking lots of water or Sharbat and then eating salted, pure-vegetarian food.
This day marks the end of Chhath Puja.
Chhath Puja Rituals and Traditions
Women are regarded as the main parvaitin or worshippers on the day of Chhath Puja. However, it is not limited to any gender, which is why we see men utterly drowned in devotion on this day. The worshippers or parvaitin venerate Goddess Chhati Maiya and offer Arghya to Lord Sun to seek their blessings and longevity for their family and children.
In several local communities, it is an unsaid rule that once a member of the family starts performing the rituals for Chhath Puja, it becomes their duty to carry it on every year and then pass it on to the future generations. In case any inauspicious activity such as a death in the family happens, the observance in that family is skipped.
On the contrary, in case the person stops performing the ceremony in any year, then there is no option of resuming it since there seems to be a permanent pause. The prasad prepared is strictly vegetarian and includes vegetables, fruits, sweet dishes such as Thekua, Kheer etc.
Chhath Puja Vidhi
Devotees are required to collect all the ingredients for commencing the Chhath Puja and then perform the ritual of offering Arghya to Lord Sun. The items are:
- Three baskets made of Bamboo
- Three soop winnows made of Bamboo or Brass
- A plate, milk and a glass
- Akshat, Vermillion, coconut, diya, turmeric, sweet potatoes, sugarcane and vegetables
- Sandalwood or Chandan, camphor, honey, betel leaves, lemons, and pears
- Thekua, Kheer-Puri, Suji ka Halwa or Semolina Pudding, Malpua, Laddoos made of Rice
All the above ingredients must be placed in a basket made of bamboo. After this, put the prasad in the soop winnow, light a Diya and put in the soop. Women who are fasting must stand in the sacred water knee deep, hold the soop in their hands and offer the Arghya to Lord Sun,
Chhath Puja Legend As Per Mythology
The importance of Chhath Puja is mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. According to it, Maharishi Dhaumya advised Draupadi and the Pandavas to perform similar rituals. With this, Draupadi got blessed with an intellectual mind and would help the Pandavas resolve difficult problems. In such a manner, she enabled the Pandavas to gain back their strength and reign.
As per Brahma Vaivarta Purana, the Chhathi Maiya is highly venerated on the day of Chhath Puja. As per the legend, the son of First Manu Swayambhu named King Priyavrat yearned for kids of his own. Seeing this, Maharishi Kashyap advised him to organize a Yagna, following which his wife Queen Malini gave birth to a stillborn baby.
This made the King and Queen both sad. At that moment, a craft with Mata Shashthi seated on top passed by. Seeing this, the King prayed to the Goddess, who introduced herself as the “Manas Daughter of Lord Brahma”.
She told them that she is the protector of children all around the world and blesses a childless couple by fulfilling their wish for a kid. After this, the Goddess brought back the lifeless body of the infant to life, which pleased the King. From that day onwards, worshipping Chhathi Maiya became a tradition.
Astrological Significance of Chhath Puja
The festival of Chhath Puja holds both high astrological as well as scientific significance. Since this day falls on the Shashti tithi of Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik, the festival of Chhath Puja is considered as a remarkable astronomical occasion. It is on this day itself that the planet Sun is posited in the Earth’s Southern Hemisphere.
It is said that during this period, the Sun lays its rays on the major parts of the Earth, which can cause humans to suffer from skin conditions and eye diseases emerging from major exposure to ultraviolet rays. In order to get rid of such troubles, people offer Arghya to the Lord Sun on the day of Chhath Puja. hence, the importance of worshipping the Sun increases.
Chhat Puja Observances
|2019||Sat||2 November||Chhat Puja||Restricted Holiday|
|2020||Fri||20 November||Chhat Puja||Restricted Holiday|
|2021||Wed||10 November||Chhat Puja||Restricted Holiday|
|2022||Sun||30 October||Chhat Puja||Restricted Holiday|
|2023||Sun||19 November||Chhat Puja||Restricted Holiday|
|2024||Thu||7 November||Chhat Puja||Restricted Holiday|
|2025||Tue||28 October||Chhat Puja||Restricted Holiday|
1. Is Chhath Puja a bank holiday in India?
Yes, Chhath Puja is a bank holiday in several parts of India, which means that the banks remain closed.
2. What is the ceremonial or liturgical color associated with Chhath Puja?
The liturgical color associated with this day is Bhagwa or Saffron color.
3. Who started Chhath Puja?
Lord Ram and Maa Sita observed a fast to venerate Lord Sun after coming back to Ayodhya and broke it after the sunset. This ritual evolved in Chhath Puja.
4. Can we use garlic or onion while preparing food for eating during Chhath Puja?
No. Using garlic or onion while preparing food for prasad during Chhath Puja is strictly prohibited.
From the above information, it is evident that the festival of Chhath Puja or Surya Sashthi 2021 in India is celebrated on Wednesday, 10 November with great devotion and pomp-and-show. We hope you have liked this article on Chhath Puja in India. Thank you for being an important part of AstroSage.