Chhath Puja 2022: The Worship of The Powerful Sun God

Chhath Puja is a celebration that honors the mighty sun god Lord Surya and is dedicated to the welfare of all people. The two “aragyas” (river water offerings to Lord Surya) that are made during the festival take place as the sun rises and sets. The rising and setting sun evoke a sense of power and awe among the devotees who come to pay respect to Lord Surya.

The festival commences six days after the Festival of Light, Diwali. This year, Chhath Puja will be celebrated on
Sunday, October 30th 2022.

History and Legends

The legend associated with Chhath Puja is the story of King Priyavrat, son of First Manu Swayambhu, who had no children, and hence was very distraught by it. He carried out a “yajna” (a ritual sacrifice with a specific objective) for a son in accordance with Maharishis’ (Saptarishis, the seven ancient sages of the Rigveda) instructions. Following this, Queen Malini gave birth to a son, but sadly the child passed away at birth.

The king, as well as the rest of the family, were devastated by this. A figure then suddenly appeared in the skies, identifying herself as the daughter of Lord Brahma, Shashthi Devi, and that she had arrived to answer the king’s prayer. She conveyed to the grieving family that her purpose was to ensure the safety of all children around the world, as well as provide the ability to have children to families that were previously unable to.

Shortly after this, Shashthi Devi blessed the child with a touch of her hand, bringing him back to life. Following this, King Priyavrat was so grateful for the goddess’ act of grace that he vowed to pay eternal worship to her. Since then, the occasion of Chhath Puja became a well-known holiday observed all over the world.

Celebrations and Festivities

The festivities surrounding Chhath Puja include a lot of devotional music. The festival atmosphere is enhanced by the omnipresent sound of “Chhath geet” (prayers). To see the “arghya,” people swarm the banks before dawn while dressed in traditional attire. Cities like Gaya and Patna, for example, have excellent lighting in the morning’s early hours. Everyone adheres to the values of keeping cleanliness and mental purity, attesting to the undeniable sacredness of the festival. It is highly valued when devotees go through the hardships of fasting and renunciation during Chhath Puja.

The festival lasts four days with each day having its own unique traditions, as follows.

Devotees wake early in the morning to offer prasad and pray to the sun god.

  • First Day (Nahaye Khaye)

At dawn on the first day, worshippers take a holy bath in the Ganga or Yamuna. Along with cleaning their home, they make offerings for the God, which would eventually be consumed by the devotees. In order to shield the mind against the desire towards vengeance, vegetarian food may also be consumed.

  • Second Day (Kharna)

The second day, the devotees fast and refrain from even sipping water. Kharna means to fast for the whole day. They break this fast at night, and resume the fast until the evening of the third day.

  • Third Day (Sandyha Arghya)

Devotees decorate the banks of rivers with flowers and offerings on the third day’s nightfall. They embellish a bamboo basket and load it up with rice laddoos, thekua (an Indian cookie), and fruits (sweets). The followers break their fast after this ritual. 

  • Fourth Day (Usha Arghya)

The ‘arghya’ is offered to the rising sun on the last day, and blessings are requested for the children’s happiness. When night falls, devotees break their fast by consuming prasad (a devotional offering made to a god, typically consisting of food that is later shared among devotees, also known as parana). Then, prasad is given to family members and other members of the community.

Did you miss your chance to make it home for Chhath Puja this year?
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Chhath Puja 2022, Dates, Festival, Significance – India Online Pages

Chhath Puja 2022: Date, History, Significance and Rituals of Chhath Puja – Edu Dwar

Chhath Puja 2022 Date and Muhurat for New Delhi, India – AstroSage