New Delhi, Nov 11
: The month of Kartik is a very popular one in India as many important festivals fall in this holy month. Diwali, Chhath Puja, Govardhan Puja, Bhai Dooj, Karwa Chauth are a few which merit mention. Many devotees perform 'kartik snan' for one complete month.
After Diwali, Chhath which is a popular festival of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. The person who fasts, mostly the eldest woman of the house, fasts for nearly three days.
The Puja is observed to thank the Sun God for his protection and seek his blessings along with good health and happiness. It is celebrated on the sixth day in the month of Kartik of the Hindu calendar.
Chhath is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival historically native to the Indian subcontinent, more specifically, the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal as well as the Madhesh region of Nepal. The Chhath Puja is dedicated to the Sun and his wives Usha and Sangya or Sandhya 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. While it is a Hindu festival, some Muslims also celebrate Chhath.
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. Some devotees also perform a prostration march as they head for the river banks.
Environmentalists claim that Chhath is the most eco-friendly Hindu festival. Although the festival is observed most elaborately in Madhesh (southern) region of Nepal and Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and UP, it is also more prevalent in areas where migrants from those areas have a presence. It is celebrated in all Northern regions and major Northern urban centers in India.
Picture source: Internet