Chhath is a Hindu festival celebrated each year by the people very eagerly. This is very antique festival of the Hindu religion dedicated to the God of energy, also known as Dala Chhath or Surya Shashti. People celebrate this festival to offer thanks to the Lord Surya for blessing the life on the earth as ever. People worship the God Sun very enthusiastically and pray for the well-being, success and progress of their family members, friends, and elders. According to the Hinduism, Sun worship is related to the cure of a range of diseases such as leprosy, etc.
The rituals at this day is to wake up early in the morning, take a holy bath in the Gange and keep fast for whole day, even people do not drink water and they keep themselves standing in the water for a long time. They offer prasad and aragh to the rising sun. It is celebrated in the various states of India like Bihar, UP, Jharkhand and Nepal. According to the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated at 6th day of the month of Kartika (month of October or November).
At some places, Chaiti Chhath is also celebrated in the month of Chaitra (March or April) few days after Holi. It is named as chhath because it is celebrated at the 6th day of the month of Kartika. Chhat puja is very famous in the Dehri-On-Sone, Patna, Dev and Gaya. Now, it is celebrated all over the country.
Chhath puja has a great significant in the Hindu religion and it is assumed that the oldest Purohits were requested by the kings to come and perform the traditional puja of the Lord Sun. They chant the ancient Rigveda texts and a variety of hymns for worshiping the Sun. In the ancient, Chhath puja were celebrated by Draupadi and Pandavas of Hastinapur (New Delhi) for solving their instant problem and regaining their lost kingdom.
It is also assumed that the Chhath puja was first started by the Surya Putra Karna. He was a great warrior and had ruled over the Anga Desh (Munger district of Bihar) during the Mahabharata period.
Worship of Chhathi Maiya (consort of the Lord Surya) is held at Chhath puja, Chhathi Maiya is also known as Usha in the Vedas. Usha means dawn (the first light of the day). People pray to Chhathi Maiya to overcome their troubles as well as to get the Moksha or liberation.
Another history behind celebrating the Chhath puja is the story of Lord Rama. It is considered that Lord Rama and Mata Sita had kept fast and offer puja to the Lord Sun in the month of Kartik in Shukla Paksh during their coronation after returning to the Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. From that time, chhath puja became the significant and traditional festival in the Hindu religion and started celebrating every year at the same date.
Chhath puja has a special significance during the Sunrise and Sunset periods. The Sunrise and sunset are the most important periods of the day during which a human body can safely get the solar energy without any harm. That’s why there is a myth of offering the Sanjhiya Arghya and Bihaniya Arghya to the Sun at the Chhath festival. During this period the solar energy has low level of ultraviolet radiations so it is safe for the human body. People perform the Chhath puja in order to thank the Lord Sun for continuing the life on the earth as well as to get blessings.
The ritual of Chhath puja provides mental calmness (by detoxifying the body and mind), enhances the energy level and immunity, reduces the frequency of anger, jealous as well as lot of negative emotions. It is also believed that following the Chhath processes helps in slowing down the ageing process. Such beliefs and rituals of the Chhath make it the most significant festival in the Hinduism.