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Sun holds a lot of importance in many religions and cultures worldwide. In Hindu religion too, Sun is worshipped with immense devotion to get good health, life and prosperity. Chhath puja is a festival devoted to Surya Bhagwan or Sun God. It is celebrated in the North Indian states especially in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand and in some parts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The term ‘Chhath’ means number six. It is Hindu Puja that is celebrated for four days and Sun God is worshipped with a lot of devotion. It is celebrated to honour Lord Surya for sustaining life on earth and for providing his continuous blessings to the mankind.
Chhath begins on the sixth day of the Shukla Paksh (Waxing Moon period) in Kartik month. It falls a week after the Hindu festival of Diwali.
Legends and Beliefs
It is believed that Sun which is the primary influence of nature is considered to be the God of vigour. He is considered to be the life-force and is worshipped during the Chhath period to support the well-being, affluence and progress among the devotees. Hindu people believe that Sun helps to cure many illnesses and diseases. It is considered as a source of healing too. They also believe that stability and prosperity comes by praying to the Sun God. Therefore, people worship the Sun in order to ensure the longevity and prosperity of family members, friends and beloved ones.
Rituals and Celebrations
The rituals of this Hindu Puja are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days. People start this festival with a holy water bath and then they observe fast for the whole day during which they don’t even drink water. They stand in some natural water body such as river. Pond or lake for a long time to offer prayers to the rising and the setting Sun and thus perform the Surya Puja with all the rituals. Once the family starts performing Chhath Puja, it becomes their duty to perform the Puja every year and to pass on the tradition to the generations to come. The festival is skipped only if there happens to be a death in the family that year.
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