Chhath Puja 2021 Day 1: Four-day festival begins with Nahay Khay. Know all the rituals
On Nahay Khay, vratis start their day by cleaning every nook and corner of their house. After taking a bath and applying orange vermillion, preparations for making the prasad begin. Know all about the rituals.
Chhath Puja 2021: The four-day long Hindu festival of Chhath Puja begins today (November 8) with the rituals of Nahay Khay. On the first day of the festival dedicated to Sun god and Chhathi Maiya, prasad of Chana dal (split chickpeas) and Kaddoo (bottlegourd) Bhaat (rice) is prepared on earthen chulha.
Chhath Puja celebrated in Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Nepal concludes on November 11 with Usha Arghya when the vratis (those keeping fast) will break the fast after 36 hours of 'nirjala' (without water) fasting.
The preparation for Chhath Puja begins a day after Diwali as vratis start eating only Satvik food (without onion, garlic), prepare meals with utmost hygiene and eat only after taking a bath.
On Nahay Khay, vratis start their day by cleaning every nook and corner of their house. After taking a bath and applying orange vermillion, preparations for making the prasad begin. All the ingredients used in cooking like vegetables, pulses, rice are freshly bought or thoroughly cleaned and should not be mixed with food items that have been previously used or touched with unclean hands.
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Rock salt is used to make the prasad. The food prepared is strictly satvik and onion and garlic are not used while cooking. After offering it to Sun god and Chatthi Maiya, the prasad is first consumed by the person who's keeping the fast and then distributed to others in the family.
On the second day of Chhath called Kharna day, vratis do not eat anything or drink water until puja in the evening when prasad of kheer is made with gud and arwa chawal. The 36-hour fast is then kept till the conclusion of Chhath Puja with arghya at sunrise.
Chhath Puja is believed to be an ancient festival and even finds mention in Rig Veda texts. It is said that in ancient times, Draupadi and the Pandavas of Hastinapur used to celebrate Chhath. A few mantras from the Rig Veda texts are also chanted by worshippers while offering prayers to the Sun.