One of North India’s biggest festivals is almost upon us and preparations for the same have begun. The ancient vedic festival celebrated widely across Nepal, Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh, dedicated to the the Sun god – Surya and Chhathi Maiya, the mother goddess, will be celebrated on November 10 this year.
Devotees thank Surya for bestowing bounties of life on earth and pray to the deity and his vedic consorts Usha and Pratyusha (Goddesses of Dawn and Dusk). The festival is celebrated grandly by Bihari and Nepalese diaspora to offer prayers to Chhati Maiya – the mother goddess.
The Sun is offered arghya (a special type of offering) in the evening on the first day and the morning of the second day. The rituals are observed over four days as some devotees aslo perform a prostration march heading for river banks.
Chhath Puja lasts for four days starting with Kartik Shukla Chaturthi and ends with Kartik Shukla Saptami.
The samagri required for the Chhath puja to offer an arghya to Sun God are as follows:
- 1 large bamboo basket, 3 soop made of bamboo or brass, plate, milk and glass
- Rice, red vermilion, lamp, coconut, turmeric, sugarcane, suthani, vegetable and sweet potato
- Pear, big lemons, honey, paan, whole herd, caravans, camphor, sandalwood and dessert
- As prasad, take thekua, malpua, kheer-puri, semolina pudding, rice ladoos.
The Vidhi for Chhath Puja Arghya is as follows:
Place the Chhath puja samagri in the bamboo basket.
Put the whole prasad in soop and light an earthen lamp.
All women then stand in knee deep water with traditional soop in their hands to offer an arghya to the sun.
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