Chhath Puja 2021: The Meaning, History, and How to Celebrate the Festival

Chhath Puja 2021: The Meaning, History, and How to Celebrate the Festival

Chhath Puja 2021: Chhath Puja is a four-day festival dedicated to Lord Surya and Chhathi Maiya performed in North India. This year the festival begins with Nahay Khay on 08 November 2021 and will end with offering Arghya to Surya in the early hours of 11 November 2021.

Chhath is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival historically native to the Indian subcontinent, more specifically, the Indian states of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and, Jharkhand, and the southern parts of Nepal.

Section 1: What is Chhath Puja?

Chhath Puja is a significant part of the Indian culture, and this annual celebration in Bihar, a state in eastern India, is one of the most famous and celebrated festivals of Hindus.

Hindus perform religious rituals, like fasting for this day and praying for the well-being of their family and to ward off all kinds of evil luck, at the auspicious time of the day called 'Chhath' in the Bhojpuri language.

Chhath Puja begins at the start of the first full moon of the Hindu month of Kartika (October or November) and ends on the day of the full moon.

It is a holiday during which people from the surrounding regions of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, and Nepal come together to perform religious rituals.

The Purpose of Chhath Puja

Chhath is celebrated to honor and respect mother nature. Its main purpose is to worship the Sun God. This annual festival is held in the month of Kartik. Chhath is widely celebrated during the late autumn and early winter in northern India and Nepal. According to the Hindu calendar, the actual date for this festival is October 27th. It marks the time when the Sun reaches the lowest position in the sky and stops shining. This day, there will be eight hours of drinking and bathing in the water of the sacred river Ganges, and worshipping the Sun God.

Traditionally, it was only girls who bathed in the water, and then went around with coils of sacred thread called Chhath to the houses of family and friends and prayed to the sun.

History of Chhath Puja

The origins of Chhath puja are unclear, but it is believed that the ritual was established sometime in the ancient Hindu time period as a ritual for worshipping water and the moon. In fact, the word "Chhath" means to worship the goddess Durga. According to the etymology, in the Hindu religion, on the morning of the day of the festival, in the same water that served as the offering to the goddess Durga, a worshipper is expected to pour a libation of water with the help of a wooden Diya (a lamp) into a closed bowl of water.

The worship in the form of this practice was started by the locals of the Bundelkhand region as a means to appease the fierce goddess. Now, on the auspicious day, Chhath Puja is one of the biggest festivals of the state.

How to Celebrate the Festival

Before we get into the meaning of the festival and the traditions, let’s first learn how to celebrate the festival, what it stands for and the rituals performed during the days preceding and following it.

The History of Chhath Puja in the Indian Subcontinent

Chhath Puja is a celebration that occurs after the harvest season. In fact, the original celebration was held every autumn in honor of the moon goddess, Chhaya or Devi. Today, however, the festival is organized by the Bihari Hindu community (also known as the Hindi people, Bangalis, Bihari/Bihariali people) who observe the Chhath Puja just one day before Dussehra, which is celebrated as one of the biggest Hindu festivals and one of the biggest Hindu pilgrimage days.


The festival is a multi-day celebration during the third and fourth week of October, which lasts for a total of four days. The festivities begin the evening of the third day and will last till the early morning of the fourth day. The popular way to celebrate is with families with their neighbors, relatives, friends, family members, and loved ones.

Celebrations begin with the marriage of Dhaichou, or groom and bride, for which prayers are offered to God. This is followed by sacrifices, with the night being filled with religious hymns and dance. The next day, devotees take a dip in the Ganges River in their respective communities and are known to come together with friends and families to perform rituals, dance, and sing.

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