In the month of Kartika, which falls in October-November, one can attend Chhath Puja in India. To do this, you will have to go to the northern regions of India or to the south of Nepal, where the holiday is especially revered. It is dedicated to the sun god Surya and his wife Ushas, goddess of the dawn. In 2022, the holiday is celebrated on October 28.
Chhath Puja or Surya Sashthi is one of the ancient festivals dating back to Vedic times. The rites dedicated to Surya are mentioned in the Mahabharata. On the fourth day after the Diwali holiday in honor of the goddess Lakshmi in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand worship the Sun. For four days, Hindus fast, do not drink water, bathe in rivers and meet the dawn, standing waist-deep in water.
- Fasting in Chhath Puja is the strictest: for at least 36, and more often 54-60 hours, they do not even drink water;
- since the Sun is visible to all, there are no idols at this festival, just as there are no priests. People speak directly to Surya at dawn, which is the responsibility of Ushas;
- Chhat is a holiday for everyone. Shudras take part in it on an equal basis with everyone else. Many Muslims pray alongside Hindus. Prasad can be eaten by everyone;
- respect for every person and the fruits of his labor is the main message of the holiday;
- cleanliness is the main condition. Ablution is indispensable;
- Chhat is considered the most environmentally friendly holiday in India.
How to celebrate
Surya and Ushas are asked to fulfill wishes, bestow health on family members, friends, and elders. They are grateful that they gave life to the earth and fertility. Participants are allowed to eat prasadam. A festive dish is sweet rice with milk, but you can start it only after it has been offered to the young moon and the goddess Ganges. During Chhat, it is interesting to see colorful processions to the rivers and even take part in the events personally!
When is Chhath Puja celebrated in 2022?