Chhath puja 2018: Important dates, timings, history and significance

Chhath puja 2018: Dedicated to lord Shiva, Chhath puja is celebrated with great zeal and rigour in Bihar and parts of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam and even Mauritius.
Chhath puja 2018 will be celebrated between November 11-14, while the main puja will be observed on November 13. (File Photo)
Chhath puja 2018 will be celebrated between November 11-14, while the main puja will be observed on November 13. (File Photo)
Updated on Nov 13, 2018 09:58 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent

Chhath Parva, also called Chhath puja, Chhath, Chhathi, Dala Chhath and Surya Shasthi is a festival dedicated to the Sun god (Surya bhagwan). The festival is celebrated mainly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, as well as states, such as, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Bhojpuri and Maithili-speaking countries, like, Mauritius. During the four long-days of Chhath puja 2018 -- Chhath puja 2018 will be celebrated between November 11-14, while the main puja will be observed on November 13 -- devotees will worship lord Surya. During this puja, the setting sun is worshipped. Women observe this challenging fast of 36 hours since ages with consistent faith that lord Surya will make all their wishes come true, if the ritual of offering ‘araghya’ to setting sun is done with complete devotion.

Important dates (Tithi)
November 11, Sunday: Nahay khay chaturthi
November 12, Monday: Lohanda and kharna panchami
November 13, Tuesday: Sandhya arghya shashthi
November 14, Wednesday: Usha arghya, parana day saptami

Sunrise, sunset timings
According to drikpanchang.com:
Sunrise on Chhath puja day at 06:44am
Sunset on Chhath puja day at 06:00pm
Shashthi tithi begins at 01:50am on November 13
Shashthi tithi ends at 04:22am on November 14

Fasting is observed by lady folks or married women for the well-being of their sons and the happiness of family members. (File Photo)
Fasting is observed by lady folks or married women for the well-being of their sons and the happiness of family members. (File Photo)

Significance of Chhath puja
The festival is dedicated to lord Surya (Sun god), which people believe sustains life on Earth. Hindus believe that the early sunlight helps to cure many diseases and is a great source of healing too. Chhath puja is performed to seek blessings from lord Surya for a long, healthy and prosperous life. The festival is celebrated in between the months of October and November. Chhath literally means “six” and the festival gets started just after the Govardhan puja, completing on the seventh day (Saptami - the paran/ parna day).

During Chhath puja, the setting sun is worshipped. Women observe this challenging fast of 36 hours since ages with consistent faith that lord Surya will make all their wishes come true, if the ritual of offering ‘araghya’ to setting sun is done with complete devotion. Fasting is observed by lady folks or married women for the well-being of their sons and the happiness of family members.

History of Chhath puja
It is said that the rituals of Chhatth puja may even dates back to ancient era, as it finds a mention in the Vedas. According to chhath.org, the Rigveda features hymns praising lord Surya and exemplifies similar customs. The custom also finds a reference in the Mahabharata -- one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana -- in which Draupadi -- he most important female character in the Mahabharata -- is described as observing the same rituals.

Chhath puja is performed to seek blessings from lord Surya for a long, healthy and prosperous life. (File Photo)
Chhath puja is performed to seek blessings from lord Surya for a long, healthy and prosperous life. (File Photo)

According to the poem, Draupadi and Pandavas -- the rulers of Indraprastha (today’s Delhi) -- performed the rituals of Chhath puja on the recommendation of noble sage Dhaumya. Through the adulation of lord Surya, Draupadi not just came out of all her troubles, but also helped the Pandavas regain their lost kingdom.

The yogic or scientific history of Chhath puja dates back to the Vedic times. The rishis of yesteryears used this method to remain alive without any intake of food; they were able to obtain energy from sunlight. This was done by following the rituals of Chhath puja.

Another history reflecting the significance of Chhath puja is the story of lord Rama. It is believed that lord Rama and his wife Sita had kept fast together and offered puja to lord Surya in the month of Kartik (in between October and December) in Shukla Paksha, during their coronation after returning to Ayodhya from 14 years of an exile. Since then Chhath puja became an important festival for Hindus.

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