The four-day Chhath Puja festival, dedicated to Lord Surya and Chhathi Maiyya, is all set to conclude on November 20 with Usha Arghya. The women observing the fast will offer arghya to the rising sun, standing waist-deep in water, and pray for the well-being of her children and family. Chhath Puja is of great significance in the states of Bihar, UP, MP and West Bengal and thousands of ghats are cleaned and decorated ahead of the Sandhya and Usha Arghya days. After Sandhya Arghya, devotees are not waiting for Usha Arghya on November 20, post which they can perform Parana and break their arduous 36-hour fast. (Also read | Chhath Puja 2023 Usha Arghya date and time: City-wise Parana timings in Delhi, Patna, Ranchi, Kolkata and other cities)
Chhath Puja is celebrated on the sixth day of Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik. Women begin their fast by taking a bath in a holy water body and carrying the water home for prasad making with Nahay Khay, the first day of Chhath festival. Kharna is observed the following day with 8-10 hours ‘nirjala’ (without food and water) fast post which a prasad of rasiya kheer and roti is consumed. Sandhya Arghya or Pahla Arghya is offered on evening of the day 3 of Chhath to the setting sun while Usha Arghya or the doosra arghya is offered early morning to the rising sun, at the conclusion of the festival on day 4.
For Usha Arghya devotees wake up few hours before sunrise to make all the preparations for the morning rituals. Vratis, their family members and near and dear ones head to the ghat carrying bamboo baskets filled with prasad for Lord Sun and Chhathi Maiyya. The final day of Chhath is even more exciting as this is the day when the vratis can also enjoy delicious the prasad post the morning arghya along with their family members.
This year, the four-day festival of Chhath Puja is being celebrated from November 17 to November 20. Arghya to the setting sun and the rising sun is scheduled for November 19 and November 20 respectively. Chhath Puja goes back to the Vedic era and the rituals of Sandhya and Usha arghya find mention in Rigveda. It is said that the idea of the festival originated from the Rishis who relied on nutrients from the sunlight and went without food and water for days together.