Hinduism would not be Hinduism without its colorful festivals. One such festival is the Chhath festival that is celebrated among Hindus mostly from Bihar In North India. But now it is celebrated all over India.
The festival has a very ancient origin and is dedicated to the Sun God also known as ‘SuryaShashti’. It is a festival that gives the faithful a chance to thank the sun god for bestowing all the good things in life.
It is interesting to know that the word ‘Chhath’ denotes the number 6. Thus this festival is celebrated on the 6th day of Hindu
Day 1 : On the first day the devotees go and have a bath in the Ganga river. This is supposed to purify the body as the Ganga is considered a holy river..
Day 2 : On the second day the devotees observe a fast. This fast is broken in the late evening after performing the evening prayers. The fast is broken with rice, puris (deep-fried puffs of wheat flour) and bananas. These are also distributed to family, friends and relatives
Day 3 : On the third day the devotees spend time preparing the offerings at home. In the evening the devotees move to a riverbank or a pond. There, the offerings are made to the setting sun. At nightfall, the devotees along with the family and friends return and the fire god is worshipped.
On the last day of the festivities it is a gala occasion. All the devotees, family and friends, move to the riverbank and make offerings to the rising sun, this time. At the completion of the offerings, there is great celebration. The devotees break their fast and the rich offerings are made to all the people around.
Chhath is a very joyous and colorful festival. All the people dress up in their best and new clothes are a must. Women deck themselves with jewelry and make up and wear gold ornaments.
Loud and devotional music is played and the path to the river bank is decorated with festoons, colorful flags , banners and banana leaves. There is much merry making as it is a festival of happiness. In India millions of people throng the banks of river Ganges. In case of people who reside away from the Ganges like in Mumbai, they celebrate by going to the sea coast.