Chhath Puja 2023 fasting rules: Dos and don'ts to keep in mind while fasting on Chhath
The festival of Chhath Puja begins with Nahay Khay today. Here are the dos and don'ts during fasting and other rituals of Chhath that devotees must follow.
The four-day festival of Chhath Puja, one of the biggest in Bihar and UP, begins today (November 17) with Nahay Khay as Chhathi Maiyya devotees take a holy dip ahead of the 36-hour arduous 'Nirjala' fast. Observed on the sixth day of Shukla Paksha of Kartik month of Hindu calendar, Chhath Puja is observed by devotees, mostly women, to get blessings from Surya Bhagwaan (Sun God) and his sister Chhathi Maiyya. After three days of elaborate rituals including Nahay Khay, Kharna and Lohanda (November 18), and Sandhya Ghaat (November 19), the festival concludes on the fourth day with Usha Ghaat (November 20) or morning arghya to the rising sun, post which the fast comes to an end and vratis finally do Parana with ginger water before an elaborate meal. (Also read: Chhath Puja 2023 begins with Nahay Khay; date, rituals, significance, sunset and sunrise timings for all days)
Chhath Puja, a much revered fast popular since ancient times, is observed to please the Sun God and Chhathi Maiyya, and falls roughly six days post Diwali. Considering the fast has to be observed with utmost hygiene, every nook and corner of the house and surrounding areas have to be cleaned thoroughly. The preparation thus begins right after Diwali. Taking a daily morning bath is mandatory by not just vratis during the four days of the festival but also by their family members and others who are helping in Prasad making and other preparations for Puja.
Here are all the rules that have to be followed during four days of Chhath festival.
Dos for Chhath Puja fasting
1. Post Diwali preparations: Chhath Puja has elaborate rituals that require intense cleaning of the house and surrounding areas, besides making arrangements for puja samagri and prasad samagri. Thus the preparation should ideally begin right after Diwali.
2. Prasad making: Chhath Puja prasad has to be made with utmost hygiene and while making the prasad, one should not just take bath early in the morning but wash hands and feet every time one re-enters the puja area. The prasad should not be touched with salty or dirty hands.
3. Shopping list: There is an elaborate list of samagri and food items that need to be bought in advance to avoid any inconvenience. Some of the puja items that need to be purchased before Chhath Puja is camphor (kapur), cotton balls (batti), deepak (lamp), ghee, fruits, idols of Lord Surya and Lord Ganesha, incense sticks (agarbatti), kumkum (roli), khajur (dates), matchbox, betel leaf or paan, puja thaali, chandan, akshat, supari, and vrat katha book.
4. Washing and drying of wheat: One of the Chhath Puja prasad essentials is thekua prasad which is also known as tikri, khajuriya, and other such names. To make thekua prasad, whole wheat grain is used. Wheat needs to be properly washed and dried in sun before it is used to make prasad. The same must be done on priority for prasad making.
5. Sandhya Ghat and Usha Ghat rules: On the day of Sandhya Ghat and Usha Ghat when evening arghya and morning arghya have to be offered respectively in a water body like pond or river, vratis as well as all those who would accompany them for puja must take a bath and wear new clothes. While worshipping Lord Surya, women seek blessings for their children and family. Prasad items are carried to the ghat in a soop and the same is offered by the vrati to the Sun God while standing waist-deep in the water.
Don'ts for Chhath Puja fasting
1. Do not touch puja items without washing hands: All the puja samagri and the prasad items meant to be used during Chhath Puja must remain pure, clean and hygienic. For this, it's important that your hands and feet are thoroughly cleaned before you make prasad or touch any puja samagri.
2. Do not eat salty items: During Chhath Puja festivities, eating or touching salty items is prohibited, from the day of Kharna. On the first day of Chhath during Nahay Khay a prasad of kaddu-bhaat-chana dal is made which is eaten by vratin and all the other family members. However, post that nothing salty can be touched or eaten.
3. Do not eat non-vegetarian food: Even if you are not fasting on Chhath Puja, one must not consume non-veg food if one of your family members is fasting. One should stick strictly to satvik food.
4. Do not wear previously worn clothes: It is important to wear only clean clothes while participating in Chhath puja activities.