Chhath (meaning Sixth in Hindi) festival in a Hindu society signifies the prosperity of human life and other living beings. It’s celebrated by paying homage to the Hindu God of Sun.
The Festival of Chhath
Chhath (Hindi & Nepali: छठी, छठ पर्व, छठ पुजा) is a Hindu festival celebrated mainly in South Asia in dedication to Hindu God of Sun. It may be the only festival dedicated to the Sun god for offering light and energy for sustaining/promoting life on Earth.
It is mostly celebrated by the greater inhabitants of Bihar and UP in India and Terai region in Nepal. It occurs on Kartik Sukla Sashti, the sixth day of Kartik in Hindu calender which falls on October-November.
A rigorous observance, Chhath follows strict lifestyle for 4 consecutive days. The observant abstains from the main household and sleeps on the floor. The entire festival doesn’t require an involvement of a priest. They generally take to the nearest pond or river and pray the rising/setting sun.
According to Legend,
In the poem, Draupadi and the Pandavas, rulers of Indraprastha(modern Delhi), performed the Chhath ritual on the advice of noble sage Dhaumya. Through her worship of the Sun God, Draupadi was not only able to solve her immediate problems, but also helped the Pandavas later regain their lost kingdom.
It is also believed that Chhath was started by Karna, the son of Surya (Surya Putra Karna). Surya Putra Karna ruled over the Anga Desh (present day Bhagalpur district of Bihar) during the Mahabharat Age. He was a great warrior and fought against the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra War.
Its yogic/scientific history dates back to the Vedic times. The rishis of yore used this method to remain without any external intake of food as they were able to obtain energy directly from the sun’s rays. This was done through the Chhath method.
Chhath Festival in Nepal
In Nepal, most observant hail from the Madhesi community of Terai. Among the community, it is held with much grandeur, which can clearly be seen from their devotion. The observant line up along the banks of nearest rivers or ponds and take a holy dip for days. The celebration of Chhath can also be seen in Kathmandu, where they take it on the beds of Bagmati river and Queen’s lake (Ranipokhari).
The final day of the four days festival is marked as a public holiday. It holds an immense value to most Hindu residents of Nepal, therefore, it can be a sight to see for the tourists who wish to explore the various facets of Hindu society or Nepal.
The date of celebration varies every year. This year, Chhath is scheduled to be held on November 29.
Thekua is a form of sweet eaten mostly in the Madhesi household. They mostly prepare it using wheat flour, sugar syrup and clarified butter (ghee). Looking at the delicacy, it can be called a precursor of western cookie or biscuit.
- Cultural Tour of Nepal -6 Days