Diwali celebrations may be coming to an end but the festive season in Northern India is still carrying on with the beginning of Chhath Puja or Chhath Parva. Chhath Puja is celebrated in devotion to the Sun God Surya Shashti, or Dala Chhath, and his wife Usha, who is also known as Chhath Maiya. 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.
This year, Chhath Puja begins on October 24 and will continue till October 27. The main puja will be observed on October 26.
The Shashthi Tithi will begin at 9:37 am on October 25 and finish at 12:15 pm on October 26. On the day of the main puja, the sun is expected to rise at 6:41 am, while sunset will likely happen at 6:05 pm.
The history of Chhath Puja has its roots in the two epics Mahabharat and Ramayan. It is believed that Draupadi along with the Pandavas, upon advice from the noble sage Dhaumya, performed Chhath Puja.
As she worshipped the Sun God, Draupadi saw all her problems disappear and the Pandavas were able to win back their lost kingdom. Another belief is that as Sita was returning to Aodhya with Lord Ram, she observed a fast and prayed to the Sun God in the month of Kartik. Chhath Puja has become a significant festival for Hindus ever since.
Chhath Puja is celebrated mainly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, but with many people from those states moving to Delhi, it has become an important festival in the national capital as well.