Chhath Pooja 2023: Dates, Significance, Rituals, Celebrations and more•
Posted on November 17 2023
Chhath Pooja, a cherished festival in India, is a heartfelt celebration dedicated to the sun god, Lord Surya, and Chhathi Maiya, the sister of Lord Surya and the sixth form of Devi Prakriti. The auspicious festival of Chhath is all about embracing the Sun’s blessings
When will Chhath Pooja be celebrated in 2023?
Chhath Pooja is celebrated after six days of Diwali or on the sixth day of the month of Kartik.
This year, Chhath Pooja celebration starts on 17 November with Nahay Khay and ends on 20 November after Usha Arghya.
Chhath Pooja is a spiritual journey that reflects the gratitude of devotees toward the sun for the life-sustaining energy it provides. The sun, considered the source of vitality and healing, becomes the focal point of worship during this festival. Through rituals and prayers, people seek blessings for health, happiness, and prosperity.
Rituals and Traditions
1) Nahay Khay (First Day) - 17th November, 2023
Chhath Pooja starts off with a ritualistic bath, symbolising physical and spiritual purification. Devotees cleanse themselves in rivers or other water bodies, preparing for the days ahead.
2) Lohanda (Second Day) - 18th November, 2023
The second day is a day of fasting, where devotees abstain from food and water. The fast is broken in the evening after offering prayers and thekua (a sweet dish) to the setting sun.
3) Sandhya Arghya (Third Day - Evening) - 19th November, 2023
As the sun sets, families gather at riverbanks or other water sources. They offer fruits, sugarcane, and lit lamps to the setting sun, accompanied by hymns and mantras.
4) Usha Arghya (Fourth Day - Morning) - 20th November, 2023
The final day witnesses devotees standing in the water, offering prayers and arghya to the rising sun. This marks the culmination of Chhath Pooja. The 36-hour fast is broken on this last day after offerings are made to the Sun God.
Interesting Stories Around Chhath
1) The Legend of King Priyavrat
According to Hindu fable, King Priyavrat, the son of the first Manu, Swayambhuva Manu, was a devoted ruler. He had many children, but his queen Malini was childless. Distraught, Queen Malini sought the guidance of great sage Kashyapa. Upon the sage's advice, the queen observed the Chhath Pooja rituals with utmost dedication. Pleased with her devotion, Lord Surya blessed her with a son named Ruru, and thus, the royal lineage continued.
2) The Story of Karna, the Suryaputra
In the epic Mahabharata, the great warrior Karna is acknowledged as the son of Surya, the sun god. Karna's unwavering devotion to his divine father earned him the title of "Suryaputra." It is believed that Karna performed rigorous austerities and prayers, including those resembling Chhath Pooja, to seek blessings from Lord Surya. His dedication and penance played a significant role in his destiny.
3) The Tale of Draupadi and Chhathi Maiya
According to folklore, Draupadi, the queen from the Mahabharata, faced a difficult situation during her exile. Struggling with various challenges, she prayed to Chhathi Maiya for strength and guidance. It is said that Draupadi's devotion and Chhathi Maiya's blessings helped her overcome adversity. In gratitude, Draupadi observed Chhath Pooja, establishing a tradition that symbolises empowerment and resilience.
4) The Story of Sita's Chhath Pooja
Another tale from the Ramayana involves Sita, the wife of Lord Rama. During her exile, Sita faced hardships and sought solace in the worship of Lord Surya. Her unwavering faith and dedication in performing Chhath Pooja rituals earned her the blessings of Lord Surya, who bestowed her with strength and protection.
5) Chhathi Maiya and the Pandavas
Legend has it that the Pandavas, during their years of exile, faced numerous challenges. Draupadi, their wife, advised them to observe Chhath Pooja to seek the blessings of Chhathi Maiya. Following her guidance, the Pandavas performed the rituals with devotion, and it is believed that their prayers were answered, helping them overcome their trials.
6) The Miraculous Healing of King Sagar's Descendants
In ancient times, King Sagar's descendants were afflicted by a curse that caused a skin disease. Desperate for a cure, they prayed to Lord Surya during Chhath Pooja with utmost devotion. Miraculously, their skin ailments were healed, and the grateful descendants continued to observe Chhath Pooja as a token of gratitude.
Chhath Pooja goes beyond religious boundaries, fostering communal harmony. People from diverse backgrounds join hands, creating a shared celebration that transcends differences. The preparations involve families and communities working together, reinforcing the sense of unity and collective spirit.
Chhath Pooja is unique in its eco-friendly approach. The rituals take place near natural water bodies, emphasising a deep respect for the environment. Devotees ensure minimal ecological impact during the immersion of offerings, reflecting a conscientious connection with nature.
A Special Festival
What makes Chhath Pooja truly special is its simplicity. It is not about grandeur or extravagance, but about the sincerity of the devotee's connection with the divine. The rituals are conducted with a pure heart, emphasising the humble and profound relationship between us and the Sun deity.