Chhath Puja 2018

Today we celebrate the anniversary of our beautiful sun and his wife Usha. As the sun (or Surya) is a demi-god which brings light into our lives, Usha is a demi-goddess who represents the dawn and the daily light coming into our lives, as we know it. Chhath Puja is a tradition that started many years ago and is dedicated to thanking both the sun and Usha for bestowing life upon us. Starting exactly four days from Diwali with today being the sixth day from the that same holiday, this festival is primarily embraced by women more so than men. 

Chhath originated by the world's oldest religion Hinduism and primarily derived by Sanskrit, one of the world's oldest Into-Aryan languages. Some devotees believe Sanskrit is the only language that allows you to communicate with the Gods. Sanskrit is often compared with the Avestan language of Zoroastrianism, a Persian religion that embraces that teachings of Zoroaster an Iranian spiritual leader from Eastern Iran who later became a dominant part of ancient Persia. 

Also known as Surya Shashthi, this festivity of light is about worshipping the sun and allowing you to garner  health, wealth, and happiness aided by Surya and Chhathi Maiya. As the sun is a God visible to humanity, it's primary premise is to create and protect all life on this planet. Chhath Puja lasts about four days. Nahaye Khaye represents the first day. During this time, you will take a bath. Followed by your bath you will clean your home. Food is often prepared and offered to the Gods; however, most devotees will have food already prepared for the Gods and then eat the food shortly after. This tests persistence, patience, urges, or anything considered maleficent or vindictive. Kharna is celebrated on the second day. For the entire morning throughout the entire day those celebrating Chhath Puja are not allowed to eat or drink at all. The fast usually lasts 24-hours. This is a complete dry fast for many hours. Then, in the evening you can break the fast by eating various Indian delicacies including Chapati, Indian-style flat bread with purified ghee. 

As the celebrations continue for Chhath, the third day is represented by what is referred to as Sandya Arghya. During this time, Arghya is offered to Surya (or the Sun God). At night, Hindus make beautiful fruit baskets using bamboo sticks that include some sort of grain, fruit, spice, and dessert. Hindus offer them to the sun. Utilizing traditional soop, female Hindus will stand knee deep in some sort of body of water. In addition to this, they offer water or milk and often times some sort of sweet. They finish day three with singing songs in the night. Most of the songs are mantras with Sanskrit or Hindi lyrics and often embrace Shashthi Devi. The fourth day is referred to as Usha Arghya. On the final day of Chhath Puja, Arghya is offered to Surya in the early hours of the morning. Just before sunrise, those celebrating this wonderful festival go outside and offer an Arghya to the rising sun. This protects family, friends, and other loved ones from bad energy and karma. This also promotes peace and happiness. To conclude the festivities, devotees drink milk and eat dinner to break the fast. 

I will celebrate this incredible holiday today. It is currently 11:30 pm here in Idaho. Starting in a half an hour, I will fast for 24-hours. I will not eat nor drink anything in that time frame. I will go outside often to pay respects to the sun with prayer. I will refrain from using technology, which means no internet for me. Then, at 12 am tomorrow (November 14, 2018) I will offer my food to both the moon and goddess Ganga and finally be able to enjoy a wonderful meal. I am a vegetarian (occasionally vegan) so I will enjoy something wholesome. 

Dating all of the way back to vedic times, Chhath honors both the rising sun and the setting sun. Taking part in Chhath symbolizes loyalty, love, and liberty for one's self and for family. I am celebrating Chhath to pay respects to the sun and the sunset that follows. As the sun is necessary for life, this is the only holiday that commemorates and honors everything it brings including love and light. And truth be told, it is one of the few festivals on earth that is backed by more than just culture, but science too.  

During this day my body's immunity will be boosted. This will also include a heightened level of immunity to my physical body and health. In addition to this, my mental state of well being will be energized and all anger and sadness will be eliminated. My social state of well being including patience will increase. Lastly, my emotional health including happiness and overall spiritual connection to life will expand dramatically. 

Chhath Puja will allow me to absorb both Vitamin D and Calcium which are both extremely vital to the human body. My cellular repair process will eliminate toxins from my body, as my hormone levels will promote weight loss. The changes in my genetic makeup will balance the molecules within the building block of all matter and will increase longevity to my life and protect me against any disease and virus. Partaking in Chhath will also reduce oxidative stress levels including protein and DNA damage and protect your body from free radicals that are almost inevitable to avoid. And in addition to this, celebrating this festival will correct and repair metabolic damage, acidosis, and prevent cancer causing carcinogens from entering the body. It will also work towards preventing various diseases including Alzheimer's disease. This day will also raise BDNF levels in the brain and promote healthy new nerve cells. 

This world-renowned Hindu Vedic festival is also one of the most eco-friendly festivals to exist because it spreads a powerful message that correlates with conservation of nature. And because of this, it embraces the conception of equality and unity, something that doesn't usually happen. The rich and the poor, as well as, the old and the young come together and honor our great sun and the world we live in by extending wishes, prayers, and even gifts to those higher powers we honor and respect. There are two types of Chhath Puja celebrated. These include Chaitra Chhath and Kartik Chhath of the Vikram Samvat, the Hindu calendar. Chaitra is celebrated during the Chaitra month which is the first month of the year. Kartik is celebrated during the Fall and varies in October and November. This is the Chhath I am currently celebrating. 

Amazing right?

And although this is considered a holiday in Hinduism, other faiths have the right to celebrate it also. Whether you are Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim or even Mormon, you too can acknowledge Chhath. It is; however, celebrated by Hindu women around the world, including myself. 

Happy Chhath Puja! 


Anonymous said…
Unbelievably gorgeous.
Anonymous said…
Stunningly beautiful woman.