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Chhath Puja: A famous festival in the Terai Region

Chhath Puja is the most prominent festival which is celebrated in the North Indian state of Bihar and certain regions of Uttar Pradesh and Nepal. Chhath is a famous festival which starts on the 6th day of the Hindu calendar month “Kartika”. This festival is dedicated to the worship of the Sun god and his wife Usha. This festival is celebrated to thank god for supporting life on earth and to seek the blessing of divine Sun god and his wife. According to Hindu religion, it is believed that sun heal several health conditions and offers longevity, progress, positivity, prosperity and well being. Moreover, the main day of Chhath is actually not the first but the third day of Chhath Puja.

This festival is celebrated by people following rigorous routine which lasts for four days, the rituals and traditions of this festival includes fasting , offering prayers to the rising and setting sun, holy bathing and meditation while standing in the water. It is one of the famous Indian festivals which are celebrated in Bihar and many other destinations of India including Jharkhand, eastern UP, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Bangalore, Chhattisgarh and regions of Nepal. It is celebrated at the sixth of the month of Karthika in the Vikram Samvat. Chhath Puja is also celebrated in the summers after Holi but the Chhath which is celebrated in Kathika month has more importance and is ardently followed by people. However, people living away from their hometowns travel in large number during this festival

History of Chhath Puja

People worshipping the sun during the Chhath

Chhath is a festival which is all about purity, devotion and offering prayer to Sun God; the exact origin of this festival is ambiguous but there are certain believes which connects to Hindu epics. Ramayana and Mahabharata are the two epics which are associated with Chhath Puja.

Chhath Puja’s Association with Ramayana

It is believed that Lord Rama is associated with the inception of Chhath Puja. It is said that when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhyana then he and his wife Sita observed a fast in honor of the Sun god and broke it only with the setting sun. It is one such ritual which is subsequently evolved in Chhath Puja.

Chhath Puja’s Association with Mahabharata

Famous Mahabharata character Karna is said to be the child of Sun god and Kunti. It is said that Karna usually use to offer prayer while standing in the water. However, there is another story which mentions how Draupadi and the Pandavas also performed the similar puja to get their kingdom back.

Scientific Significance of Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja is the best way to get your body detoxified as taking dips in water and exposing the body to sun increases the flow of solar bio electricity which improves the functionality of human body. It is also said that Chhath Puja helps to kills the harmful bacteria and prepares the body for the upcoming winter season.

Rituals Involved in Chhath Puja

Chhath is a four day festival which starts four days after the famous Indian festival Diwali, this year Chhath Puja 2019 is in October month. Below is the list of Chhath rituals which are involved in Chhath Puja.


Nahay Khay: The first days of the Chhath Puja involved devotees taking dip preferably in the River Kosi, Ganga and Karnali and then after the holy dip devotees take home the holy water to prepare the offerings. It is one of the most important rituals of Chhath Puja on the first day.


Lohanda or Kharna: The second day of Chhath Puja involved devotees fasting the whole day and the fast ends a little later after the sunset. The second important ritual of Chhath Puja involves devotees preparing offerings like kheer, bananas and rice for the family after worshiping the Sun and the Moon. After consuming the prasad one has to fast for 36 hours without water.


Sandhya Arghya (evening offerings): The third day of Chhath Puja is also observed with fast without water and the entire day involves preparing puja offerings. The offerings (prasad) later are kept in a bamboo tray. The offering includes thekua, coconut banana and other seasonal fruits. Third day’s evening rituals takes place at the banks of a river or a pond or any clean water body. All the devotees offer ‘araghya’ to the setting sun.


Bihaniya Arghya: On the last day of Chhath Puja, devotees again assemble on the bank of the River or any water body and then offer prayers and prasad to the rising Sun. After the offerings are done then the devotees break their fast by eating ginger and sugar or anything which is available locally. After all these Chhath Puja rituals this amazing festival ends.

Interesting & Unique Facts Associated with Chhath Puja

  • Chhath Puja is the only Vedic Festival which is celebrated in India and Nepal.
  • Chhath Puja is associated with Hindu epics involving Ramayana and Mahabharata with more than 1 character of Mahabharata associated.
  • Chhath Puja is the only Hindu festival where all the rituals of the festival have some scientific reasons and all of them altogether represent a  scientific process for detoxification.
  • Chhath Puja are crafted in a way which involves optimum absorption of Calcium & Vitamin D into the body which is really beneficial for the women.
  • Chhath Puja also helps increasing the immunity of the body.
  • The four days of Chhath Puja offers great mental benefits to the devotees. Chhath Puja calms the mind of devotees and reduces the negative energy like hatred, fear and anger.
  • The custom of offering prayer to the Sun god was also prevalent in the Babylonian civilization and ancient Egyptian civilization.

Tihar : A festival of light

Tihar also known as Deepawali is a Hindufestival. It is celebrated for 5 days. It is celebrated mainly in Nepal and the India. It is the festival of lights. In this festival diyas are lit inside and outside the houses to make it bright at night. It is known as swanti among the Newars and as Diwali among Madhesis. Set in the Vikram Samvat calendar, the festival begins with Kaag Tihar in Trayodashi of Kartik Krishna Paksha. It ends with Bhai Tika in Dwitiya of Kartik Sukla Paksha every year.

Tihar is the second biggest festival in Nepal after Dashain. In this festival animals like crows, dogs, cows, and oxen are also worshipped. People make Rangolis on the floor of living rooms or courtyards. They use materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals to make these Rangolis. Rangolis are made for welcoming Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism mainly Goddess Lakshmi.

Kaag Tihar (Day 1)

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A crow eating the food

Kaag Tihar (Crow Festival) is the first day of Tihar. In this day the crow is worshipped. Hindus regard crows as the messengers of Yamraja, the god of death. People worship it to bring good luck in their houses.They also give food to kaag or crows on that day.

Kukur Tihar (Day 2)

The second day is called Kukur Tihar (Dog Festival). In this day, people offer garlandstika and delicious food to dogs. Dogs are important animals in Hindu mythology. It is believed that Bhairava, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, had a dog as a vahana (vehicle). It is also believed that Yama, the god of death, had two guard dogs – each with four eyes. The dogs are said to watch over the gates of Naraka, the Hindu concept of Hell. Due to this belief, this day is also known as naraka chaturdasi.

Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja (Day 3)

The morning of the third day is Gai Tihar (worship of the cow). In Hinduism, cow is the symbol of Prosperity and wealth. In ancient times cows were very useful. Their milk, dung, even urine was used for purpose like Purification. So, on this day people worship cow by garlanding and feeding them with the best grass. They clean and decorate the houses. Doorways and windows are decorated by garlands made of Saya Patri (Marigolds) and makhamali (Gomphrena globosa) flowers.

In the evening Laxmi, the goddess of wealth is worshipped. She is worshipped by lighting oil lamps (Diyo) or candles on doorways and windows. It is believed that in this day she visits her followers and gives them blessings. At night the girls enjoy playing Bhailo by singing and dancing. They visit many houses with musical instruments. They collect money as a tip from houses and share the money amongst themselves.

From the third day onward Tihar is celebrated with Deusi and Bhailo with light and fireworks. Boys sing Deusi and the girls sing Bhailo. In return, the home owners give them money, fruit and selroti (a Nepali roundel made of rice flour and sugar). Social workers, politician, and young people also visit local homes. They sing these songs and collect money for social activities.

Laxmi Prasad Devkota, who is regarded as the greatest poet of Nepali language, was born on this day. He was named after the Laxmi Puja.

Govardhan Puja (Day 4)

There are 3 different kinds of pujas on the fourth day. Mainly ox is worshipped in this day by giving different foods. It is observed as Goru Tihar or Goru Puja (worship of the oxen). People who follow Vaishanism perform Govardhan Puja. Govardhan Puja is worship towards Govardhan mountain. Cow dung is taken as representative of the mountain and is worshiped. Another type of puja is Mha Puja (worship of self). It is done by the people of Newar community during the night. This day is seen as the beginning of the new Nepal Sambat calendar year.

Bhai Tika (Day 5)

The fifth and last day of Tihar is called Bhai Tika. On this day sisters apply “tilaka” or “tika” on the foreheads of their brothers. This is done to ensure the long life of their bothers and thank them for the protection they provide.  It is believed that, Yamaraj, the God of Death, visited his sister house. He stayed there for five days so Tihar is also called Yamapanchak. He was pleased with the Hospitality. so he asked her to make a wish. Yamuna wished that the love and faith of the brothers and sisters who meet every year on the same day remain strong and the brothers have a long life and fame. Yamaraj granted the wish.

In Bhai Tika, brothers sit on the floor while their sisters perform their Puja. During the puja sisters circle brothers by dropping oil on the floor from a copper pitcher. They also apply oil to their brother’s hair. After that, they apply seven-color tika on the brother’s forehead. Similarly, brothers also give tikas to their sisters. They also exchange gifts. This ritual is practiced for both younger and elder brothers. Those without a sister or brother join relatives or friends for tika.This festival makes the relationship between brothers and sisters stronger.

Along with the seven-coloured tika, sisters provide brothers with sagun, sweets, Makhamali garland. They also provide a sacred cotton thread of Tantric importance. The thread is similar to Janai and is meant to protect their bodies.