Chhath is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival which is dedicated to the Sun and his wife Usha in order to thank them for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. Chhath puja is performed on Kartika Shukla Shashthi, which is the sixth day of the month of Kartika in the Vikram Samvat. Chhath does not involve any idol worship. the festival is observed most elaborately in Madhesh (southern) region of Nepal and Indian states of Bihar,Jharkhand and UP. While it is a Hindu festival, some Muslims also celebrate Chhath. The rituals of the festival are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days.They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vratta), standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prasad (prayer offerings) and arghya to the setting and rising sun. The Goddess who is worshipped during the famous Chhath Puja is known as Chhathi Maiya. Chhathi Maiya is known as Usha in the Vedas. She is believed to be the beloved younger wife of Surya, the sun god. In mithilanchal region she is also worshipped as name of “RANA MAI “. On the final day of Chhath Puja, the devotees, along with family and friends, go to the riverbank before sunrise, in order to make the offerings (Arghya) to the rising sun. The festival ends with the breaking of the fast by the Vratins(who performs vratta).Friends, and relatives visit the houses of the devotees to receive the prashad.
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