Chhath (locally known as Chhath/Chhathi/Chhathi Parwa/Chhath Puja/Daala Chhath/Daala Puja/Surya Shasthi) is one of the most ancient Hindu festivals which is dedicated to the God Sun (Surya) and Chhathi Maiya (the Goddess Usha, which is light in English). This festival is widely celebrated, and is the main festival of Terai region of Nepal as well as Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh of India. Though many of the Hindu communities celebrate this festival, the Maithili and Bhojpuri Ethnic groups are the main to celebrate.
Chhath festival is performed on the sixth day of Kartik (October/November) according to the Hindu Sanskrit Calendar, and hence is given the name as Chhath (which itself translates as sixth in English). However, it is not the sixth day of Kartik of the normal Bikram Sambat Nepali Calendar, as they are little different. For example- Chhath parwa for this year is according to the Nepali Calendar is on Mangshir 1. The auspicious Chhath Puja is performed just to thank Sun God for saving and also preserving life on earth. It is said Sun God blesses their devotees with well-being, prosperity and happiness. Chhath is not an easy task but a troublesome observance which has to be followed by devotees.
The whole festival is of four days starting from the fourth day of Kartik Shukla Paksha, and the sixth day is the most important one. The three days are Nahai Khai (November 15), Sandhya Argh –Chhath Dala Evening Puja (November 17) and Suryodaya Argh- Chhath Dala Morning Puja (November 18). The puja and rituals on the corresponding days are dedicated to Surya, Kartik, Agni and Chhathi Mayya respectively. The main rituals of the whole festival take place on the sixth and seventh day during the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon. The important rituals include strict fasting and offerings to Sun God on river bank or seashore.
Here are some scientifically proven benefits for the devotees of doing chhath puja:
- It detoxifies the body and mind which leads to the biochemical changes.
- A variety of skin infections can be cured through the safe radiations of sunlight.
- It increases the fighting power of blood by improving the performance of White Blood Cells
- The devotees can improve the immunity of their body.
- Solar energy provides the power to control the secretion of hormones.
- It provides mental calmness, enhances the energy levels and reduces the frequency of anger, jealousy and a lot of negative emotions.
It is also believed that the Chhath puja contributes on slowing down the ageing process by the devotees. At some places, Chaiti Shhath is also celebrated in the month of Chaitra (March or April), few days after the great Holi festival.
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