Hindus come together for a holy celebration.
“Keep your face to the Sun, and you will never see the shadows.”
India is a country full of religions and celebrations. Hinduism is the largest religion in the Asian country. Early in November, Hindus celebrated the festival of lights, Diwali. Millions of people marked that holiday with shows and firecrackers. skies were bright by fireworks. However, celebrations haven’t ended yet. Now, Hindus are celebrating AGAIN. This time they are honoring the sun. Keep reading to learn more about Chhath Puja – Festival for 4 days.
Diwali is one of the most important festivals in Hinduism. In this festival, people celebrate the victory of light over darkness. Six days after this big festival, many Hindus mark Chhath Puja. This festival honors the sun god (Lord Surya) and his wife. Believers thank the sun god for its blessing. In Hinduism, the sun has healing qualities and can cure diseases. In Chhath Puja, Worshipers pray facing east so that rays of the sun fall on them.
The celebrations last for four days. Let’s learn more about what happens on these four days.
Day 1 – Holy bath and food
Day one of this festival is called Nahay Khay. The word ‘Nahay’ refers to a bath and ‘khay’ refers to eating. People start the day by cleaning their houses. Then, Many Hindus like to go to The Ganges River take a dip in the water. Hindus believe this river’s water is holy. After that, they start to prepare Prasāda. Prasāda is food that’s made especially as an offering to gods. Hindus usually make it using fresh vegetables and rice. The ingredients of making Prasāda shouldn’t be mixed with other foods or touched with dirty hands. After that, worshipers eat only once before sunrise. Finally, they start fasting. This means that they stop eating any food or water.
Day 2 – Purify your soul
This day is known as Kharna. Kharna means purification. People fast from sunrise to sunset. They believe this process help them purify their minds and bodies. After that, they worship their god. At the end of the day, people eat a meal called kheer (a rice pudding) with bananas and rice. Then, they fast again.
Day 3 – offering to the setting sunThe third day is the most important day of the festival. People continue to worship the sun god. They go to holy water and offer their foods to the setting sun. After sunset, People stop fasting and start eating. Most of them eat ginger while drinking water. In the evening, women sing folk songs that praise the gods.
Day 4 – praying at dawnThe last day is called Usha Argya. Usha means “dawn”. And “Argya” means “offering”. So, worshipers pray at dawn to the rising sun as they dip their feet in a river or any water body. Finally, they stop fasting and distribute Prasāda to other worshipers. Many Hindus break their fasting by drinking raw milk or fruit juice.
Chhath Puja is all about coming together. Families gather to pray, fast and take a dip in the water. In 2020, Chhath Puja was different as many people had to stay apart because of covid-19. In 2021, people will gather once again to give their thanks.
Happy Chhath Puja to everyone!
Chhath Puja is an ancient festival that’s celebrated mainly in India and parts of Nepal