The festival, spread over four days, starts with the worshiper taking a dip in the holy water of river Ganges or any water body at sunrise. Some of the holy water is brought home by the worshiper for preparation of offerings (Prasad). From this day onward, the worshiper, to observe ritualistic purity, is segregated from the main household for four days and sleeps on the floor on a single blanket. The following morning, a fast is observed by the worshiper which ends a little after sunset. After eating, another fast that lasts 36 hours is observed by the worshiper. When the day of the ritual arrives, offerings (Prasad) are made to the setting sun and the rising sun, the following morning, and the fasting ends with distribution of the same offerings among the family, friends, and anyone who asks of it.
Apart from offering thanks and prayers to the Sun God for all the bounties of life, the worship is also believed to cure various diseases such as leprosy, and bestow long life, prosperity, and blessing to all the family and friends of the worshiper. It’s not just the worshiper that partakes in the ritual; other members of the family contribute to it too. While women dedicate their time to prepare the offerings, children and other members too contribute by way of taking over the daily chores and cleaning the whole household. Though more ornately celebrated in Bihar and Jharkhand, it is also celebrated in many other part of the country like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Delhi, Mumbai and Northeast regions of India. The important dates of Chhath Puja have been mentioned below.
- Chhath Puja Vrat 2016: Monday Nov 07
- Chhath Puja Vrat 2017: Thursday Oct 26