Thursday, 21 December 2017

Chhath Puja

It was a beautiful busy evening and Dilli32 was hosting Hyderabadi food festival. MY blogger friends Mr. Maneesh Srivastva & Mr. Vickram Vicky had come to honor us with their presence. It’s always a pleasure talking to them on various topics, and that day chhath was our discussion topic.

Mr. Maneesh Srivastava says, “Chef Aap chhath puja per kyun nahin likhthe? I said aap ko humari madad karni padegi’’. He has lightened my task by saying that ‘’aap suru to kare”.

Chhath, “A goddess who is called chhathi maata is worshiped for four days. Chhath Maha Parva is celebrated in Shukla Chaturthi of Kartika Month. Mainly every year after six day from Diwali chhath is celebrated. Due to Suryashashthi’s fasting, it is called ‘CHHATH’. It is also said Chhath in Hindi is 6.

It is a mega festival of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Mithila Region of Nepal also does chhath, infact there is an important connection between chhath and Mithila region. My Rakhi sister Mili Sharma (Mithila Brahmin) vice principal of DAV, Biratnagar in Nepal says that chhath is very popular here and celebrated all over the Nepal with same faith and happiness every year, as we have in Bihar.

The 100% Bihari festival Chhath Puja starts with removing all the negativity and turning it into positive. Chhath means everything to a Bihari, and we feel proud that the oldest ruling history state has such a unique festival in the whole country that it has got respect from every others religion.
It’s a religious festival and celebrated in the family with purity. A four day function where all family members come together to celebrate.

Indians belongs to the family of Aryans. From the Vedic period we worship sun as it is a symbol of power and energy. Life style is based on Varna and Caste. Sanskrit is the main language of communication. People were scared from the natural powers like- Sun, Moon, Star, Rain, Fire and Wind in that era, and hence they started worshiping them like god and goddess.

Upanishad, Ramayana and Mahabharata all are documented in this era and provided many instances on Sun and other worships. Pandavas wife Draupadi used to worship sun for the sake of family’s good health and their longevity.

It is believed that Chhathi maiya is the sister of Lord Surya and if we worship HER, Sun God is worshiped. The worshipers fast and worship on the banks of river Ganga, Yamuna or any river and reservoir.

Dev in Aurangabad district of Bihar has a sun temple and their chhath puja is world famous. Many villagers in Bihar establish the Surya murti in nicely decorated pandal and after chhath they do visharjan.

To wish to have a child in their lives, people started to celebrate chhath puja with a faith and belief in Lord Surya. Believe me it’s true to many………..

My childhood memories begin with the making of ghat with friends in chhath. We used to carry tools like kudal and khurpa in ours hand and went to the riverside to make it. This beautiful journey with childhood friend helped to select the perfect place for the ghat. Then, we wold compete to see who is making it better and quicker.

The festival begins from NAHAY KHAY (Nahay is bath and khay is food), the devotees take a bath and enjoy satvik bhojan thus called “Nahay khay”. Song of chhathi maiya is sung by the family members in every household. Puri, Chana dal, Lauki ki subzi, Aloo chokha, Aloo dum, Dhaniya ki chutney, Arwa chawal and Ghee are the highlights of the menu cooked in sendha namak without onion and garlic Also referred  as ‘’kaddu bhat’’ if anyone eats with rice. 



Second day is the day of “kharna”. The preparation for making Prasad (kheer) with full faith and prayers for family’s well-being is called Kharna. Vartis do fasting whole day, without any water and food and in the evening they worship Lord Bhaskar and offer him Ganga Jal, Gur ka Kheer and ghee ki Roti after that they intake it and later the Prasad is distributed to the family members.  New rice and new gur is used to make Kheer. It is made separately in clay Chulah, in which the mango woods and the cow’s dung cakes are used in the form of fuel.

 In the end I am blessed to wash the leftover cloths of the varti, which is also a very important part of the chhath puja. They wear the same saree throughout the ritural ceremony of chhath.



Arwa chawal/Gur/Fresh cow or buffalo milk

Boil milk add soaked arwa rice and cooked till mashy consistency, remove from fire and add gur.

Nirjala vart

Where varti do the fasting without having any water and food is called Nirjala. Chhath, Teej, Jitiya are the most difficult Nirjala vart of our country.

The 36 hrs long fasting without water is starts after that.

The festival of Chhath is the most difficult festival. It’s not easy to spend 36 hrs of long fasting. The whole night is utilized to make Tekua, thikri and khajuri and this work continues till morning. The temperature required to fry Thekua should be very low, more time required due to large quantity of Prasad, thus done in night. The Tekua will be made of only wheat, which is specially washed and dried for Chhath.
In the afternoon, every kalsup and daura is decorated beautifully and traditionally with fruits, vegetables and 7 thekua each. Picture of sun with ghee and sindoor are made in the kalsup. The weight of Kalsup for Arghya (offering) with milk is more than 5 kg.

5 kg chaki ka atta / 2 1/2 kg gur / 300 gm sudh ghee.
Thekua is fried in sudh ghee.


“Daura and Kalsup” are kept on the forehead of male members and all move to the ghat near river side. (Some did it on their rooftop). This is the most enjoyable and responsible task, performed by the male members of the family and ladies keep walking singing the chhathi maiya songs.

काँच के बाँस के बहँगिया, बहँगी सतर्क जाएय् होख॥ सुरूजदेव सहाय…… बहँगी घाट पहुँचाए…… घाट पर हमहूँ अरधिया देबई हे छठी मइयाँ……. it’s a long song, if you sing you fall in love of it.

Kids enjoy crackers throughout the journey…………….

As varti reach the ghat, all daura and kalsup are kept on the ghat floor and ghat is decorated with sugarcane and Banana tree leaves. Some do modern 
lighting too.


The first arghya is called “SANDHYA ARGHYA. Varti does worship in river/pond/ man made water pond. They hold the kalsup in their hands and stand in the water. They move around five times at the same place and every time family members offered arghya of water near the kalsup to Lord Bhasker and take blessings of Chhathi Maiya.

Again, Kids enjoy crackers on ghat throughout the ritual ceremony………….

After the first arghya, “KOSI BHARNA” is an event during Chhath Puja. When your manat is fullfiled by Chhathi Maiya, you do kosi bharna. In a beautiful earthen pot (here, sculpture of elephant) which has many diya in it and in the centre of earthen pot, vartis’ put thekua, fruits, sacha, and puri. The earthen pot is kept in the center under the shades of sugarcane stacks. It’s a thanks giving to the Goddess.

Kids enjoy crackers on ghat throughout the ritual ceremony………….

Many people stay over the ghat in that night. Many cultural activities are performed by the local and celebrities. Varti along with family members enjoy chhathi songs to avoid falling asleep.

As and when we talk about chhath song definitely one name comes to our mind that is of Sharda Sinha. She is world renowned singer by the virtue of chhathi maiya songs.

Those who return back to their houses, wake up at 3:30 am in the morning. The sound of the loudspeaker indicates you to do bath and get ready for the ghat. Without any Pandit this ritural of chhath happens in the supervision of the elder family member. The ugthe surya ko arghya is given with raw cow milk. Everyone at the ghat does the milk arghya. After that, we do surya Arti and dhup hawan and put dhup samagri (shakil) five times and this is done by everyone in the family.

Kids enjoy crackers on ghat throughout the ritual ceremony………….

In chhath the long sindoor on mother’s forehead through the nose, resemble her as goddess.

The chhath puja finishes with blessings and we take prasad and seek blessings of Chhathi Maiya and Lord Bhaskar. Vartis’ do sindoor and khoichha ritural to the others ladies.

Today is Paran day, all varti’ open his/her fasting by eating thekua. The thekua loaded with sindoor looks very attractive and just melts in your mouth. It’s very soft due to loads of ghee used in the preparation. Thekua is divine and is just out of the world.
All Bihari will agree with this statement about thekua…………
There is a tradition to eat fish in the afternoon as Bihari always consider fish as auspicious.

Happy chhath puja to all!!! “Chhathi maiya ki kirpa aap per bani rahe”.

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