Chhath Puja begins today with ‘Nahay Khay’, public holiday in Delhi
Chhath Puja is dedicated to the Sun God and is mainly observed by the people from Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh. This year, the festival will begin from Monday and conclude on November 11.
The four-day-long festival of Chhath will begin from Monday. Celebrated after Diwali, mostly by people belonging to Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh, Chhath involves the offering of 'Arghya' by fasting women to the Sun god in knee-deep water.
The festival is now celebrated in other parts of the country as well.
Though Chhath is celebrated twice in the year, the one in the month of Kartik (according to Hindu calendar) comprises of elaborate rituals.
How the festival is celebrated
The festival of Chhath begins with the ritual of ‘Nahay Khay’, which will be observed today. The devotees who keep fast take a bath, wear clean clothes and prepare a prasad for the Sun god.
Chana daal and Kaddoo Bhaat (pumpkin rice) is a popular prasad (offering) that devotees make on this day.
On the second day, a prasad of kheer made with gud (jaggery) and arwa chawal (rice) is made. This is the toughest day as the devotees begin nirjala (without water) fast which lasts for 36 hours.
On the third day, the fast continues but the devotees don't even drink a drop of water. The prasad on this day includes thekua, and the Sun god is offered arghya in a water body. The fast continues through the night and on the fourth and final day, offering is paid to the rising Sun (Usha Arghya), with devotees standing in knee-deep water. The fast concludes and prasad is distributed.
Public holiday in Delhi
On November 5, the Delhi government declared November 10 as a public holiday this year on the account of Chhath Puja.
The celebrations were muted last year due to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) restrictions.
The festival assumes political significance in the national capital as Purvanchalis (natives of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) who are settled in Delhi and celebrate the festival are a major vote bank in the city.
The Delhi government is organising Chhath Puja at about 1,100 places, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Saurabh Bhardwaj said last week.