Kartiki Chhath Puja is a religious event observed in the Indian month ‘Kartika,’ taking place in October and November. This year, it takes place from November 9 to 12. It is a four-day ancient Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun God, Lord Surya. Kartiki Chhath is actually the second half of the celebration, as the first one, Chaiti Chhath, takes place early on during April and May. Kartiki Chhath Puja comes to a close with Usha Arghya, the day when people break their 36-hour long fast, during which they don’t consume water or food. To conclude, they offer ‘Bihaniya Arghya’ to the rising sun. The festival is celebrated in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, and the country of Nepal.
History of Chhath Puja
It is believed that the religious rituals of Chhath Puja date back to ancient times, since traces of it are mentioned in the Vedas. The Rigveda, the oldest text of the Vedic Sanskrit hymns, features chants adulating Lord Surya and similar customs. The festivity also finds a reference in the Mahabharata, a Sanskrit Epic poem in which Draupadi is described observing the same traditional rituals.
Said poem states that Draupadi and Pandavas, the rulers of Indraprastha, nowadays Delhi, perform the rituals of Chhath Puja, as per the guidance of noble sage Dhaumya. By adulating Lord Surya, Draupadi came out of all her troubles, and additionally, assisted the Pandavas in regaining their lost kingdom.
The scientific history of Chhath Puja also dates back to the Vedic times. The ancient ‘rishis’ used this method to remain alive without needing to eat, obtaining energy directly from the sunlight. All of this, of course, is done through the rituals of the Chhath Puja.
The story of Lord Rama is another instance that displays the significance of Chhath Puja. It is believed that Lord Rama and Mata Sita kept fast together, and during ‘Kartik’, and offered ‘puja’ to Lord Surya, at the time of their coronation in Shukla Paksha. Since then, Chhath Puja has become an essential and traditional festival in the Hindu religion.
Chhath Puja timeline
Migrants gradually make their way down India's coast over a few thousand years.
The Vedas, which compiles Hinduism's oldest and most sacred texts, first appears in history.
The Mahabharata, in which Draupadi performs the rituals of Chhath Puja, is written.
In October, celebrations of Kartiki Chhath Puja take place once again.
Chhath Puja FAQs
How many festivals are celebrated in India?
There is no exact list of Indian festivals but we can say that over 50 festivals are celebrated in the country by people of different cultures and religions.
Why are so many festivals celebrated in India?
Festivals are celebrated because Indians think that they are an opportunity to bring people closer and create stronger bonds with each other.
Can an unmarried girl do Kartiki Chhath Puja?
Of course, unmarried women too can celebrate the festival by keeping a fast.
Chhath Puja Activities
Learn more about Indian culture
Indian culture is known for having certain particular traditions. This celebration could be an opportunity for you to get to know their culture.
Attend a celebration
This event takes place for four days. If you have the chance to travel to India to participate in person, do it! It will be an unforgettable experience.
Incorporate one of their habits
You can incorporate traditional habits, like not wearing shoes while at home. Indians believe that a home is a sacred place and, thus, they do not wear shoes inside it.
5 Traditions During Kartiki Chhath Puja
This is the first day, on which the devotees have to take a dip in the holy river and prepare ’Prasad’.
Lohanda and Kharna
The fast takes place for 36 hours, and after the time has passed, devotees break the fast by consuming ‘Prasad.’
On the third day, devotees get together by the river, alongside family and friends, and in the evening, when the sun sets, offer ‘Sandhya Arghya’ and return home.
In the morning, devotees gather together again at the bank of the river until the sun rises and offer ’Bihaniya Arghya’ to the Sun God.
Food During Kartiki Chhath Puja
During Kartiki Chhath Puja, the kind of Prasad cooked is special, made using varieties of grains, fruits, spices, and various local products.
Why We Love Chhath Puja
It is a celebration honoring the Sun god
The festival is dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun god. Believers thank him for bringing into existence all of mankind and for helping their loved ones.
The festival is held to seek blessings
The Puja festival is also performed to seek blessings from Surya to live longer, be healthy and prosper all through life. It is a perfect opportunity to say your prayers.
There are scientific facts attached to these rituals
The fact that devotees generally pray at the riverbank during sunrise or sunset is beneficial for them since solar energy has the lowest level of Ultraviolet radiation during these two times. Moreover, the traditional festival showers you with positivity and helps in detoxifying your mind, soul, and body.
Chhath Puja dates