Four-day Chhath puja came to an end with the worship of Sun god and ablution by the devotees offering ‘argh’ (Offering of water as a mark of worship). Celebrated six days after Diwali, Chhath Puja, off late has gained quite a popularity and has been recognised a Pan India, although it is strictly a festival of Bihar and adjoining area.
Falling on the sixth day of Karthik month according to the Hindu calendar, during four day Chhath Puja Lord Surya, or the sun God is worshiped for the long life and happiness of the family.
Devotees fast for 36 hours non stop. According to the ancient scriptures, Chhath Puja was started during the time of Ramayana after killing Ravana when lord Rama and his wife Sita returned from their exile to Ayodhya. They are supposed to observe this fast for the first time.
According to other legends Karan who is the son of Suryadev was an ardent devotee of the sun God, he used to offer ablutions while standing in water for hours which made him strong and healthy.
Draupadi also worshiped the sun god in the same way for the health and longevity of Pandavas on the sixth day of Karthik it is said that due to this reverence the Pandavas regained their kingdom.
There is another mythological story related to this festival, King Priyavrat and Queen Malini were childless due to which they were sad, then Maharishi Kashyap the great sage advised them to perform Yajna when they perform this Yajna Sage Kashyap gave the queen the kheer to eat which was prepared as an offering to a god. After some time the king and queen were blessed with a son but their fate was so bad that the child was born dead. When the king carried the corpse of his son to the crematorium and also tried to sacrifice his own life then the Chhath Goddess ‘Devasena’ appeared before him who is also known as ‘Shakti’. She told the king that if someone sincerely worships her all their wishes will come true, taking goddess advise the king to worship Goddess Srishti and please her by fasting. Impressed which the king’s devotion the goddess blessed him with a child. This was also the same day when Chhath Pooja is celebrated and from that day onwards the tradition of performing this Pooja is being continued. Even today people observe this fast for the attainment of children and also for the happiness and longevity of their family members.
There are four important days in Chhath Puja
Day one (Nahay- Khay)
On this day the house is first cleaned and then sanctified after which the devotees take bath and purify themselves. After bathing they start the fast by eating food made of rice and
On this day gram lentils and bottled gourd are eaten with roti. The cook of the food is first eaten by the devotees and later consumed by other family members.
Day two (Karna)
On this day the person who is observing the fast follows it for the entire day and neither they can eat nor drink anything. In the evening a sweet dish is made using jaggery known as Rasiao Kheer and eaten by the observer after performing Pooja. That same night a sweet named Thenua which is made of sugar syrup, wheat flour and ghee is prepared for goddess Chhathi as an offering.
Day three (Sandhya Arghya)
The third day is the mean day of Chhath Pooja. On this day observers do not even drink water, then in the evening they gather at the river or pond and offer abulition to the setting sun. When the devotees are heading towards the Ghat for the offertory the son or one of the men of the house walks ahead with a basket made of bamboo, this is called ‘ Behengi’. The behengi contains fruits, offerings and other things required for the Pooja.
Day four ( Usha arghya)
On the fourth day Chhatt Puja devotees worship the rising sun devotees and the other family members once again gather on the bank of the river and sing songs for the court in Chatti to please her. Then in the end they break the fast by consuming Prasad and raw milk and thus the Chhatt Puja completes.