Chhath Parva is a Hindu Festival celebrated on Shashti of Kartik Shukla. This festival of suryopasna is mainly celebrated in Eastern India. But the fact is that it has crossed over the boundaries of religion, caste and creed. It is celebrated all over India and world with great devotion. The word chhath has been derived from the word Shashti. It starts after Diwali and is a four day long festival. Since the important day of this festival is kartik shukla shashti, that is why it is known as chhath Parva.This festival famous for suryopasna or worship of Sun God is celebrated twice in a year. According to Hindu calendar it is celebrated in the month of chaitra and Kartik. As usual in the month of Chaitra also it is celebrated in Chaitra shuklapaksha Shashti and so it is known as chaity Chhath. There are many stories related to this Parva. One being Pandavas in the gambling who lost their kingdom. Then Draupadi observed the vrata of Chhath and fulfilled her wishes. Pandavds got back their throne and property back. According to the social belief Sun God and Mother Chhath share a relation of brother & sister. It was sun who worshiped Mother Shashity for the first time. Besides these social beliefs there is also a very deep science related with this festival. The day of Shashty & Chhath is a heavenly occasion for us. At that time ultra violet rays of the Sun accumulate on the earth more than required. As ultra violet rays being harmful for us , doing Chhath helps us to save ourselves from the effect of ultra violet rays. With sun rays, Ultra rays also come on moon and earth. Sun rays when reaches earth it first comes in contact with the atmosphere. It enters the ion layer. With the help of uv rays atmosphere syntheizes into allotrope ozone . Due to this process only negligible part of the uv rays reaches the earth surface instead of being harmful, helps in killing the germs of human body. Chhath is a heavenly situation where sun’s rays from the moon surface are reflected and refracted in spherical manner to the earth . It becomes dense during the times of sunset and sunrise . According to astrologers , this situation comes in the Hindu month of chaitra and Kartik. It happens after six days of Amavasya, so they named it Chhath. This four day long festival begins with the taking of sendha salt, ghee and Arva rice as offering on first day. On 2nd day at might gheer is offered and then taken by men and women involved in barat. On third day milk is offered as Arghya to the setting Sun. On last day Ardhya Is offered to the rising Sun. Ritual purity is maintained during the four day long Parva . People clean the streets and surroundings to maintain purity . Chhath Puja Starts on Kartik Shukla chaturthee and ends on kartik shukla saptami. During this vrata vratdharis remain on 36 hours fast. They are not allowed to take wateralso. first day of festival kartik shukla chaturthi is known as nahay khay. All horses are Cleaned and purity is maintained . After that chhath vratis takes bath and take vegetarian food cooked piously is taken. Pumpkin, pulse and Rice is taken as food. Pulse would be of gram only. All members of the household receive the meal only after te vrati has completed his meal.
On the second day or kartik Shukla Panchami the vratis take their meal in the evening after day long fasting . It is known as Kharna . People around the neighborhood are invited to take the offerings of kharna. As offering, rice, pudoing with sugar come juice, milk , rice, ghee smeared pitta bread is made. Hygiene is maintained in the whole house .On the third day or kartik Shukla shashthi chhath offering or prasada is prepared. It is known as the thekua and as thikri in some areas. In addition to this , ladua made of sweet rice is also prepared as offering. Offering of fruits is also included as chhath offerings. In the evening Arghya soop is prepared and arrounged , then after the vrati and members of the family with the people from the surroundings ser towards therir respective ghats which is either a river bank or poond . All chhath vratis perform arghya collectively at the river bank or pond in the form of milk water and the decorated soop.
On the fourth day of kartik shukla saptami arghya is offered in the morning to the rising sum . Vratis collectively come to ghat again where they had sandhya Arghya and repeat the same procedures. finally they complete their fast by Drinking raw milk shakes as prasada. Chhath is a kind of tough austirity . This is often done by women , but nowadays men are also doing it. Women doing chhath are known as parvaitin. People doing this vrata has to remain on fasting continuously for four days. Besides food the vraties have to discard comfortable bed also. They sleep on floor with a blanket or bedsheet . People doing chhath have to continue for years until a married woman from their next generation takes it over. On the death of some one in the house, this festival is no more observed in the family. It is a belief that women doing this festival wishes for son and gets it fuilfilied. chhath is mainly the festival of worship of sun God. Sun has always been known as the God of Creation, protection and also as Healer God. Chhath puja’s most important aspect is simplicity purity and social belief . This is a festival of devotion and sprituality which does not require huge temples and pandals . Apart from the scriptures, it is a festival of social belief. This festival is not dependent on Vedas or Puranas. It is a festival about rural life. It doesn’t require special fund or priest. It is totally about collective co-operation of the people from the society and their presence.