Chandigarh: The festival of Chhath that signifies paying obeisance to the Sun has gained popularity in the city compared to what it was around 20 years ago. The city lakes at sector-42, Dhanas lake and ghat at Panchkula are getting ready for thousands of devotees who will bathe early in the morning.
Chandigarh Bihar Council’s gala event will be at the New Lake sector-42 .Conch Sound will launch the programmme informed committee members.
The Chhath Puja, usually a four-day celebration started on Wednesday amidst prayers, offerings of flowers, sugarcanes, fruits, and sweets.
The origin of Chhath Puja dates back to Vedic times, as Vedic texts contains rituals associated with the worshipping of Sun.
It is also believed that Draupadi, from the epic Mahabharata, used to perform similar rituals.
Some people also believed that Chhath Puja was started by Son of Surya, Karna from Mahabharata.
The four-day festival is celebrated four days after Diwali. This is how the devotees observe the festival.
Nahay Khay- The first day of Chhath Puja, devotees take a dip, preferably in the Kosi river, Karnali and Ganga, and carry home the holy water to prepare the offerings.
Lohanda- The second day, the devotees observe a fast for the whole day, which ends in the evening a little after sunset. After worshipping the Sun and the Moon, they prepare offerings of kheer, bananas and rice for their family.
After consuming the offering, they fast for 36 hours without water.
Sandhya Arghya (evening offerings)- After preparing the prasad, the devotees take a dip in the holy water body in the evening and worship the Sun god and Chhathi maiyya. They offer the evening offerings amid folk songs.Usha Arghya- The fourth day, devotees go to the holy waters and offer morning offerings or ‘Usha arghya’ to the sun, following which they break their fast.
Devotees during this period observe purity and live frugally. They sleep on the floor on a single blanket. The main festival is commemorated on the third day of Chhath, when the Sun god is offered surya namaskar and fruits.The festival also has another interesting history to it — the sages used to refrain from any intake of food and channelise the energy of the Sun towards them to survive. Another mythological story is that Rama and Sita offered prayers to the Sun god after returning to Ayodhya post the exile of 14 years. The rigorous fasting and abstinence from water in reverence to the Sun god is known as Surya Sashthi fast. This fast helps in gaining focus, prosperity, happiness and well-being of body and mind.
Chhathi Maiya is also worshipped during this festival. The younger wife of the Sun god, she is known as Usha in the Vedas.DP
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