Chhath Puja – A Sacred Hindu Festival Celebrating the Sun God

4.7/5 - (4 votes)
Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja is a widely celebrated Hindu festival that holds deep spiritual significance. This is a festival which finds its roots in the past and has continued to the present in an unaltered form. It is dedicated to the Hindu God Surya (The Sun). Through this blog post I’ll try to widen the horizon of all my dear reader about the significance, rituals of Chhath Puja.

The origins of Chhath Puja can be found in history of India in various ancient Hindu scriptures and epics, including the Rigveda, which venerates the Sun as a symbol of life and energy. The reverence for the Sun God, known as Surya, dates back to antiquity, where solar deities held immense significance in ancient civilizations.

One of the earliest references of Chhath puja can be found in the Ramayana where Lord Rama and Mata Sita fasted and offered prayers to the Sun God upon their return to Ayodhya after their exile.

In the Dwapara yug this puja was performed by Maharathi Karna (son of Sun). Moreover, a similar ritual resembling Chhath Puja is believed to have been performed by Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas. It is said to that she had observed rigorous rituals dedicated to the Sun God for the well-being and prosperity of her family.

As mentioned above Chhath Puja is a unique and deeply revered festival dedicated to expressing gratitude and offering thanks to the Sun God. This is the one and only event on Earth when people worship the Sun God both at dawn and dusk. Mostly celebrated in the Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and certain portions of Nepal.

The observance of Chhath Puja occurs twice a year, marking two significant occasions in the Hindu calendar. The first celebration takes place during the month of Chaitra, while the second, larger occasion is observed in the month of Kartika. Both instances hold distinct importance and are characterized by elaborate rituals and devout practices. As it falls on sixth day Shukla Paksha of Kartika month of Hindu Lunar calendar it also called Surya Shashti Vart.

Chhath Puja has gained popularity among Hindus living abroad as well as in other areas of India. Rich customs, ceremonies, and a profound regard for the Sun God characterize this four-day celebration. Each day of Chhath Puja holds its own unique significance and set of rituals, which are observed with utmost devotion and discipline by the worshippers.

The first day of Chhath Puja, known as Nahay Khay, begins with devotees taking a holy bath in rivers or other water bodies before sunrise. This cleansing ritual symbolizes the purification of the mind and body, preparing worshippers for the sacred observance of the festival.

After the bath, devotees observe a strict fast throughout the day. They fast and refrain from drinking, giving themselves up to the worship of the Sun God. The fast is considered a means of honoring Surya and cleansing the body of contaminants.

On the second day of Chhath Puja, known as Kharna, devotees break their day-long fast. They prepare a special dish called “Kheer” made with jaggery, rice, and milk. This sweet dish is then offered to the Sun God as Prasad.

The preparation of the Prasad involves a meticulous process, with devotees following specific rituals and chanting sacred hymns. The Prasad is believed to be blessed by the Sun God and carries divine energy, which brings good fortune and prosperity to those who consume it.

Sandhya Arghya, the evening of the third day, marks another important phase of Chhath Puja. When the sun sets, devotees assemble beside bodies of water, such rivers or lakes, to offer prayers and carry out rites. To worship the setting sun is to ask for his favor to chase away all grief and disappointments. They stand waist deep in the water offering fruits, incense, flowers, and other tributes to the setting sun.

It is said that the worshippers’ life is purified and healed by the holy force of the setting sun, which also brings wealth and pleasure. The tranquil ambiance and the collective prayers create a spiritually uplifting experience for all who participate.

Most people consider Usha Arghya, the last day of Chhath Puja, to be the most important day of the celebration. In order to worship to the rising sun, devotees rise early in the morning, often far before dawn. They gather close to water bodies in order to receive the sun’s blessings, which are thought to have enormous restorative and revitalizing effects.

Chhath Puja
Source: Pexels

The prayers and rituals performed during Usha Arghya evoke a sense of gratitude and reverence towards the Sun God. As the sun rises, devotees express their devotion through offerings, songs, and prayers. This marks the conclusion of the four-day-long Chhath Puja.

Embedded within the grand festival of faith, Chhath, lies the venerable tradition of Kosi worship—an act undertaken by devotees whose heartfelt desires have been granted. In Bihar, the sight of Kosi rituals adorns every ghat, a testament to its cultural significance. Families meticulously prepare for this auspicious occasion, with unique customs that unfold from the initiation following the first Arghya to the culmination after the second offering.

A prevailing belief dictates that upon the fulfillment of a wish, an individual must honor it by performing the Kosi ritual, deeming its completion to be propitious when conducted in pairs. As dusk falls on Suryashashthi, after paying homage to Chhathi Maiya, the Kosi ritual commences within the confines of the household courtyard, upon the terrace, or along the riverbanks. Elaborate preparations ensue, crafting a pavilion using at least four or seven sugarcane stalks. Adorned in crimson cloth, offerings such as Thekua, fruits, arkapat, and kerao are tied to the sugarcane pavilion. A clay elephant finds its place within, serving as a vessel for the worship, crowned by a Kalash.


Strict adherence to rituals and procedures defines the act of filling Kosi. The meticulous process begins with adorning the clay elephant with vermilion, followed by placing seasonal fruits, Thekua, ginger, and suthini within the Kalash during the puja. Illuminating a lamp atop the Kosi, the surroundings are graced with the radiance of a copper vessel filled with soup, dagra, dalia, and an earthen lid containing the offerings of Arghya. Simultaneously, incense is lit, and Chhathi Maiya is venerated through the performance of havan. This ritual repeats the subsequent morning at the river ghat, accompanied by women expressing joy and gratitude through melodious songs—a comprehensive depiction of the Kosi filling process.

The entire family engaged in the Kosi ritual is invigorated by its fervor. Women serenade the Kosi, offering their melodious tunes, while men dutifully partake in its service, referred to as ‘Kosi Sevana.’ The household hosting the Kosi ritual pulsates with an atmosphere of fervent anticipation throughout the night, as adherence to meticulous rituals from the first Arghya to the second Arghya reveres Lord Sun, expressing profound gratitude.

Chhath Puja is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor in different regions of India, each reflecting unique customs and cultural aspects.

In Bihar, the birthplace of Chhath Puja, the festival holds immense cultural significance. The entire state radiates with joy and devotion as people prepare for the festivities. In the state of Bihar it crosses the barrier of religion and there are many Muslim families who believe in the tradition and take part in the puja with full devotion and they even keep fast on this day. The ghats (riverbanks) along the Ganges River witness a spectacular display of faith and devotion, with devotees coming together to offer prayers and perform rituals.

Chhath Gathering
Source: Pexels

Bihar’s Chhath Puja celebrations are known for their grandeur and traditional practices. The rituals are meticulously followed, and the atmosphere is filled with melodious Chhath songs and vibrant decorations. The state comes alive with the spirit of unity and harmony as people from all walks of life join hands to celebrate this auspicious festival.

Chhath Puja is equally observed in Uttar Pradesh, a state with a sizable Hindu population. Although the customs and rituals observed in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are same, there are certain regional differences that give the festivities a unique flavor.

Devotees swarm the Ganges River ghats in towns like Varanasi and Allahabad to offer prayers and carry out the customs. With earthen lanterns, vibrant decorations, and a noticeable feeling of spirituality, the riverbanks take on a captivating appearance. The spirit of Chhath Puja in Uttar Pradesh transcends boundaries, bringing people together in their devotion to the Sun God.

Although Chhath Puja is mostly observed in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, it is becoming more and more well-liked in other Indian states. States like Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Assam commemorate the anniversary with great enthusiasm, despite the fact that there are notable regional variations in the ceremonies and customs.

Chhath Puja’s essential components—worshiping the Sun God and expressing thanks for his life-giving energy—remain the same despite its variations. This festival acts as a unifying force, fostering a sense of togetherness and cultural harmony among Hindus across the country.

In countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and others with a notable Indian population, Chhath Puja is observed with immense enthusiasm and devotion. The diaspora continues the traditions and rituals associated with the festival, maintaining a sense of cultural identity and heritage even in foreign lands.

In these countries, Indian communities organize Chhath Puja gatherings at local temples, community halls, or near natural water bodies like rivers or lakes, resembling the settings back in their homeland. A spirit of solidarity and fraternity among the diaspora is fostered by the celebrations, which frequently bring individuals together. To carry out the ceremonies, participants dress traditionally, adorn their houses, and erect temporary altars.

Local authorities in some places also extend support by granting permissions for the use of public spaces or designated areas for Chhath Puja celebrations. This helps in preserving and promoting cultural diversity while enabling the diaspora to practice their traditions.

Moreover, social media platforms and online forums play a significant role in connecting people during Chhath Puja. Families and friends share greetings, images, and videos of their celebrations, allowing those living far away to virtually participate and feel connected to the festivities.

Chhath Puja’s celebration outside India serves as a means to pass down traditions to the younger generations, educating them about the significance of the festival and instilling a sense of pride in their cultural heritage. The festivities in these countries beautifully showcase the diversity of Indian culture and its ability to thrive and adapt across borders.

The Sun Worship and Environmental Significance

Chhath Puja revolves around the worship of the Sun God, reflecting ancient reverence towards this celestial body. The Sun is seen as a sign of strength, vitality, and enlightenment in Hindu mythology. During Chhath Puja, worshiping the Sun God is thought to grant followers vigor, good energy, and spiritual enlightenment.

Beyond its religious and spiritual significance, Chhath Puja also promotes environmental awareness and conservation efforts. The festival’s customs and ceremonies place a strong emphasis on protecting the environment and treating nature with reverence.

Devotees immerse themselves in bodies of water during Chhath Puja, which lowers pollution and replenishes the ecosystem. In order to lessen their detrimental impact on the environment, decorations are also manufactured of environmentally friendly materials. Several municipalities have also taken the initiative to clean up their rivers and lakes ahead of the festival in an effort to emphasize the importance of safeguarding natural resources.

The focus Chhath Puja places on environmentally aware behavior and eco-friendly behaviors serves as a reminder of humanity’s duty to save the environment and live in harmony with nature.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Chhath Puja is its inclusive nature, promoting unity and cultural harmony. This festival transcends religious boundaries and brings people from various backgrounds together to celebrate a shared tradition.

Chhath Puja encourages interfaith connections and fosters communal harmony. Hindus, Muslims, and people from other religious communities actively participate in the festivities, showcasing the power of unity and respect for diversity.

The cultural importance of Chhath Puja goes beyond religious rituals. It offers a platform for people to come together, exchange cultural knowledge, and celebrate collective heritage. The celebration of cultural variety should be welcomed and appreciated, as the event acts as a reminder, forging stronger relationships between various groups.

Recap of Chhath Puja’s significance and rituals

  1. Chhath Puja is a sacred Hindu festival dedicated to worshipping the Sun God, Surya.
  2. The festival spans four days and involves various rituals and traditions.
  3. Each day holds its own unique significance, such as holy bathing, fasting, and offering prayers at sunrise and sunset.
  4. Chhath Puja is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and other states across India.

Chhath Puja is a very important and special celebration that many people observe with lots of respect and love. It’s important because it has deep meaning, involves many special actions, and teaches us about being thankful and caring for nature. Many, many people celebrate this day, and it teaches us to be thankful, live peacefully, and understand how everything in nature depends on each other.

  1. Why is Chhath Puja celebrated?

    Chhath Puja is celebrated to express gratitude towards the Sun God and seek blessings for health, wealth, and prosperity.

  2. What is the historical significance of Chhath Puja?

    Chhath Puja has historical roots in ancient Hindu scriptures and is believed to have been celebrated since Vedic times.

  3. How long does Chhath Puja last?

    Chhath Puja is a four-day festival, with each day having specific rituals and observances.

  4. Can Chhath Puja be celebrated outside of India?

    Yes, Chhath Puja can be celebrated by Hindus living outside of India. The festival has gained popularity in various countries with Hindu communities. Adaptations and adjustments are made to accommodate the local environment and availability of resources.

1 thought on “Chhath Puja – A Sacred Hindu Festival Celebrating the Sun God”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top