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Chhath Puja festival is being celebrated from 17 November till 20 November 2023.
- Chhath Puja, also known as Surya Shashti, is a vibrant and ancient Hindu festival primarily celebrated in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and parts of Nepal.
- This four-day-long festival is dedicated to worshipping the Sun God, Surya, and his consort Usha, seeking their blessings for well-being, prosperity, and longevity.
Significance and History
- Ancient Origins:
- Traces its origins to ancient Vedic texts and is considered one of the oldest Hindu festivals.
- It is believed to have been practiced since the Mahabharata era.
- Worship of Sun God:
- Chhath Puja is dedicated to Surya Devta, the Sun God, and Chhathi Maiya, considered the sister of Surya Devta.
- Cultural and Social Importance:
- Celebrates nature, life, and the importance of the Sun in sustaining life on Earth.
- It promotes unity, social harmony, and family bonds.
Rituals and Traditions
- Four-Day Festival:
- Day 1: Nahay Khay (Holy Bath and Fasting Begins)
- Day 2: Kharna (Preparing Prasad and Breaking Fast)
- Day 3: Sandhya Arghya (Evening Offerings to the Setting Sun)
- Day 4: Usha Arghya (Morning Offerings to the Rising Sun)
- Fasting and Ritual Purity:
- Devotees observe rigorous fasting, especially women, without water for prolonged periods.
- The cleanliness of mind and body is emphasized throughout the festival.
- Offerings and Worship:
- Devotees offer fruits, sugarcane, thekua (a traditional sweet), and other homemade delicacies to the Sun God.
- Prayers, hymns, and mantras dedicated to Surya Devta are chanted during the sunrise and sunset.
- Ritual Bathing in Holy Rivers or Ponds:
- Worshippers take a dip in sacred rivers (such as Ganges, Yamuna) or water bodies before offering prayers to the Sun.
Cultural Elements and Celebrations:
- Decorations and Melas:
- Homes are adorned with colorful rangolis, diyas (earthen lamps), and festive decorations.
- Local fairs (melas) with cultural events, music, and traditional dance performances are organized.
- Community Participation:
- The festival promotes community spirit, as neighbors and families come together to perform rituals and share the festivities.
- Environmental Significance:
- Chhath Puja symbolizes respect for nature, as it involves paying homage to the elements of water, earth, and the Sun.
Chhath Puja is a sacred festival deeply rooted in Hindu traditions, symbolizing reverence for nature, devotion to the Sun God, and communal harmony. Its rituals, fasting, and cultural significance reflect the rich heritage and spiritual beliefs of the Indian subcontinent, fostering unity and reverence for nature among its practitioners.
Q. Which of the following Indian states is NOT prominently known for the celebration of Chhath Puja?
C) Uttar Pradesh