Chhath Festival – Nepal Chhath Puja, 2021 Date and Its Celebration
Chhath Festival in Nepal
Nepal is a country of festivals and religion. Each year there are lots of festivals to celebrate in Nepal. The Nepali calendar will be all covered by the festivals. Dashain, Tihar, chat, Holi, Janai Purnima, and Sangrati, etc. are the major festival which is celebrated in Nepal. Chhath Festival is one of the most important Hindu festivals in which lord Surya (sun) is worshipped. Chhath puja is commonly known as Chhath Parva, Dala Chhath, Surya Shasthi, and Chaithi. This is celebrated in different parts of the world including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh of India, and the Maithili region of Nepal. Chhath Parva starts after the end of Tihar in Nepal. According to the Hindu calendar, Chhath Parva falls on the month of Kartik. This festival is mainly celebrated for thanking Suryabhagwan for the life on earth. Unlike other Hindu festivals, Chhath Parva does not involve idolatry.
Chhath Festival in Nepal
Chhath Parva is the main festival of Maithili culture because Chhath Parva is mentioned in both Ramayana and Mahabharata. The rituals of Chhath puja is mostly done during the morning, during sunrise because Hindu people believe that the light of the sun during the early morning helps to cure many diseases. Chhath Parva is beneficial for both health and the environment. The main rituals of this festival are observed on the fourth day of the rituals. The rituals mainly include taking a holy bath in the river, fasting, standing and worshiping the sun for a long time, and offering Prasad to mostly married women. In this festival, Married women take fast for prosper and longer life of their family.
It is believed that when you take a dip in the river during Chhath puja all your sin will be flown away by the water. Since Chhath puja falls during the month of November, it is also said the rituals during Chhath puja will kill all the bacteria of your body and prepares your body for the coming winter season.
Significance of Chhath Puja
Interestingly, Surya is the main god that is worshipped during Chhath. People thank lord Surya for the light and for making their lives on the earth possible. Particularly, they worship lord Surya during times of sunrise and sunset. Especially women fast the whole day and eat only after the sunset during Chhath Parva. Devotees also worship goddess Usha and Pratyusha along with lord sun. Usha is the first ray of sun, the sun rays during morning and pratyusha are the last ray of sun in the evening, during the festival.
As the sun is the source of healing so, people having some minor disease also do the rituals of this festival. This festival aware people of the conservation of nature and also teaches the importance of the environment. People who are involved in agriculture also celebrate this festival thanking god for the good harvest in the season just ended and also for the coming season. According to Hindu scriptures offering lord, Surya different Prasad like Thekku, Laddu, Kheer, fruits in bamboo minnows will make the lord happy and heal everyone from their problems. People during this festival eat pure vegetarian food without onion and garlic and the Prashad is made without salt.
Along with the religious importance Chhath puja also have scientific importance. It is said that when you take dips in the water while exposed to the sun our body’s bio-electricity flow is increased which overall improves the functionality of the body.
Chhath puja 2021
There are different festivals celebrated in Nepal. Dashain, Tihar, and Chhath puja are some of the major festivals of the Hindu religion. We all have been celebrating festivals with our family, friends, and neighbor by sharing our happiness with them. But this year due to the danger of Covid-19 widely known as coronavirus, we will be celebrating the festival differently. Due to the critics of this virus, we will not be able to celebrate the festival with our family and friend as before. But as festivals are very important parts of our life, we must celebrate the festival taking safety precautions.
We have to celebrate these festivals with the same energy and excitement as last year but following necessary precautions. As the government has prohibited huge public gatherings and outings, this time we will celebrate Chhath puja with less crowd and in some cases virtually. Instead of going out for Chhath puja this time we celebrate this festival from home. There are different virtual ways of celebrating Chhath puja. Here are different ways to celebrate Chhath puja this year.
Celebration Chhath Parva through Video call
We all have been celebrating the festival with our family and friends. As this year due to Covid-19, there will not be a possibility to travel and celebrate this festival. But we surely could talk to them via video call and enjoy the rituals and enjoy with the same energy. As technology has made communication easier, the video call is the best virtual way to celebrate the festival and get connected to our close ones.
Distributing Virtual gifts
Gifts are always an exciting part of festivals. Without exchanging gifts the festival may feel life boring. However, the pandemic has changed the situation and the best way to exchange gifts would be virtual gifts. There are different online stores like Daraz, Foodmario, Bhojmario, etc which will provide a delivery system with safety precautions. You can buy gifts for your family and friends and the store will deliver it to them.
History of Chhath puja
Chhath puja is all about worshipping Lord Surya for a longer, happier, and prosperous life on the earth. Since the origin of this festival is unclear and indefinite, however, there are some ancient beliefs on the history of Chhath puja. Chhath Puja carries interesting History. The puja is mentioned in both the holy book of Hindus Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Chhath puja on Mahabharata
Along with five Pandavs, Kunti also gave birth to another child before birth as she was given magical power. That child was the son of Lord Surya. He used to stand in front of the Ganga River and used to offer his prayer to Lord Surya and started Chhath puja however, it is also said that Draupadi and Pandav performed the same prayer when they got there kingdom Indraprastha back from Kauravs. So from that period Chhath puja is celebrated.
Chhath puja on Ramayana
It is also believed that Lord Ram is also associated with Chhath puja. After Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman return after 14 years of Banbash to Ayodhya. Lord Ram and Sita took a fast for a whole day and eat after sunset in the honor of Lord Surya. So from then, it is said that every year Chhath puja is celebrated in the honor of Lord Surya.
Rituals which are involved on Chhath puja
Chhath Parva is started from the start of Kartik month. There are many small rituals throughout the month but the important rituals are performed after about 4 or 5 days of Diwali.
Chhath puja is a four-day ritual that is mainly celebrated in the Mithila region of Nepal and various parts of India. Chhath Puja always falls on the fourth day after Diwali ends. This year puja is celebrated on November 20,
Friday. On this day the major celebration would take place in different parts of the country, People of the Kathmandu valley can see wonderfully decorated Kamalpokhari. There will be a huge crowd of people at this place. And the decoration will look extraordinary. The worshipper would offer” Argha” to the Sun God during sunset.
And distribute Prasad to all the devotees presented at the rituals. However, the situation may be different this time due to Covid-19. The crowd of people would be less as compared to the previous year and also people must follow all the rules and regulations to prevent Pandemic.
Day 1: Naya Khay
The first day of this festival is called Naya Khay. On this day devotee take a dip on the river. Karnali, Koshi, and Ganga are the main rivers to take a dip during this festival. But you can take a dip near your home. After the holy dip devotee takes the water of the river to their home. it is believed that taking that water on your home will keep bad energy away. After that devotee takes fast for the whole day without even drinking water and after sunset, they will have Prashad.
Day 2: Lokhanda or kharna
The second day of Chhath puja is called lokhanda or khana. on this day devotee take bath early in the morning. After the bath, they worship the sun and start their fast. During that day they dance and sing and after the sunset, they have their meal. After that, they worship sunset and the moon in the evening. The devotee will offer kheer, rice, and banana to their family members. After that, they will keep fast for another whole day.
Day 3: Sandhya Arghya
The third day of Chhath puja is called Sandhya Arghya. During this day people will continue their fasting from the last day. They will not even have water during that day. The devotee will spend their entire day doing puja they will make and offer the Prashad to other people. Thekua, coconut banana, and other seasonal fruits are very important for making Prashad. After that, all the devotees will get together on the bank of the river or pond and offer their prayer to the lord’s sun.
Day 4: Bihaniya or Bhorwa Ghat (Morning Arghya)
This is the last and final day of Chhath puja. On this day devotee wake up early in the morning and take a bath. After that devotees will again gather together on the bank of the river, pond, or any water bodies. They will offer prayers to the lord’s son. After offering the Arghya to the god they will kneel down and at ghast and worship Chathi Maiya. They will pray for the prosperous and healthy life of their family members. They will dance and enjoy themselves throughout the day. Thus by these rituals, Chhath puja will be ended.
Here are the lesser-known facts about Chhath puja
1) Chhath puja is one of the few festivals which is mentioned in both Mahabharata and Ramayana.
2) Unlike other Hindu festival Chhath puja is claimed and supported by scientists. They also clarify the concept of detoxification and revitalization of the body by this festival.
3) The rituals during this festival allows and supports the absorption of vitamin D in the body.
4) If you are performing the rituals in Chhath puja then you are not allowed to eat non-vegetarian food. Also while breaking your fast you should not eat salty food.
5) Chhath puja is not the worship of any idol.
Why celebrate Chhath Puja?
Chhath puja is a very beneficial festival for Hindus. Celebrating this festival is eco-friendly and does not cause pollution. Furthermore, the main aim of celebrating this festival is to gain mental purity and heal the soul. This festival focuses on respecting natural resources and maintaining cleanliness. This festival teaches us to thank for all the things that the earth has given us. Here are some of the benefits of celebrating Chhath puja
As this festival focus on worshipping lord Surya, the main rituals are performed during sunrise and sunsets. The radiation of the sun will cure all the harmful bacteria from your body. Due to this radiation, the bloodstream improves the circulation of white blood cells in your body.
Chhath Festival has both physical and mental benefits. As a physical benefit, Chhath Puja will improve the immunity power of Devotees. The safe radiation that comes from the sunlight will help to cure bacterial and fungal infections of the skin. It also helps to increase the blood circulation system and boost the fighting power of blood. Additionally, the solar energy obtained from sunlight will make a balance secretion of hormones and fulfill the energy requirement to the body.
Thus Chhath Puja is important to boost our immune system and make our body fit and fine. Apart from this, Chhath puja also possesses the mental benefit to the people. A devotee can have mental peace and calmness as all the anger, negative energy is reduced. The devotee will go in deep prayer and hence awakes the healing, intuition, and telepathy.