Chhath Puja

The Chhath Puja is dedicated to the Sun and his sister in order to thank them for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. Chhath does not involve any idol worship. This festival is observed by Nepalese and Indian people, along with their diaspora.

The rituals of the festival are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vratta), standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prasad (prayer offerings) and arghya to the setting and rising sun. The main worshipers, called Parvaitin (from Sanskrit parv, meaning 'occasion' or 'festival'), are usually women. However, a large number of men also observe this festival as Chhath is not a gender-specific festival. The festival is dated based on the local calendar, but it typically falls sometime in October or November on the Gregorian Calendar.

Chhath Puja is a festival held for the worship of the sun, which is praised and thanked for “sustaining all life on earth.” The sun is also worshiped as the “giver of energy and life force” to all nature.

Hindus in Nepal and elsewhere also view the sun as a source of healing, prosperity, and general well being. Thus, Chhath Puja involves rites to honor the sun in the hopes of him granting a long and healthy life to oneself and one’s loved ones.

There are many rituals that take place during the four days of Chhath Puja, including holy baths, fasting, long periods of standing while worshiping the sun, and making offerings to the sun at sunrise and sunset.

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