People in Bihar express appreciation to the Sun God for providing the energy necessary for life to exist on Earth. Chhath is the one festival when every Bihari wishes they were back home. It is more than just a holiday like Diwali, Holi, and Durga Puja; it strikes an emotional chord with the Bihari community. Everyone in the family gathers to celebrate Chhath Puja, and no one wants to miss it. The four-day Chhath celebration, honors the Sun God and his two consorts, Usha and Pratyusha.

The festival honoring the Sun and Chhathi Maiya (Mother Shashti or Usha) is observed in Bihar with meticulous preparation. The primary source of energy for all life on Earth, the Sun, is revered.

The two spouses that are regarded as the Sun God Himself’s energy are Usha and Pratyusha. As a result, Usha, the first ray of the Sun, receives the morning offering while Pratyusha, the last light of the Sun God, receives the sunset offers.

After Diwali, Bihar transitions into Chhath mode. Every nook and cranny of the state is serenaded by the Chhathi Maiya melodies sung, nearly always, by Padma Shri Sharda Sinha, the daughter of Bihar. These songs, which range from “Uga ho Suruj dev” to “Marbau re sugaba Dhanush see,” depict rural Bihar’s way of life and culture.

Cleaning up becomes a communal endeavor in towns and villages. People who are paid to clean the streets are not left in charge of it. Weeds, pebbles, and other filthy objects are removed from the entire road that leads from dwellings to the ghat, the water bodies where Arghya is served by Sun.

The four days of Chhath Puja

Day one: Nahay-Khaay (literally, bathe and eat)

As the name suggests, the day begins with the Vrain (the woman who performs the Vrat, or fasts for the festival), who then begins the purification process by taking a bath and eating seasonal vegetables with rice and dal. The vegetable curry is composed of Lauki, and there is also chana saag with the dal. This food, which the Vratin eats, is a prasad that the entire family will later eat. No salt is present in Martin’s food.

The Vrain cleans the wheat that will be utilized to make the Sun god’s various gifts on this day. The wheat is meticulously cleaned before being put out to dry. The children are tasked with making sure that nothing filthy gets inside. They must watch out that the birds don’t eat it or poop on it as they fly by.

On this day, Thakua preparations are going strong. This wheat is either delivered to the village mill or ground within the households using a hand-powered device called a jaata, which turns grains into flour. Along with rotis and puris for the prasad, the flour is used to make a variety of sweet treats.

Day two: Kharna

The Vrain abstains from all liquids for the entire day. She must observe a strict fast during which she must not eat or drink and must not touch anything unclean. She will prepare dinner for the household, Tasmai, and Puri in the evening. As it is made with milk, sugar, and rice, tasmai is comparable to the kheer. But the milk needs to come from a cow with a living calf. While preparing the Tasmai, milk is not moistened with water.

After dinner is prepared, the Vrain performs ceremonies behind closed doors where she offers Naiwedya to several gods, including Gram Devta and Kul Devta. Chapatis, Tasmai, and bananas are used to make the Naiwedya, which is then spread over a banana leaf.

She will purposefully leave some food on the plate after she finishes eating because it is regarded as pious and is consumed by the family as prasad. Kids fight over who gets to eat them because it is comparable to receiving the purest kind of blessing.

Someone would bring the Naiwedya from inside as she opened the door, and the entire family would consume it. Later, the family is fed dinner using the food that the Vratin, Tasmai, and Puri made.

Day three: Sandhya Arghya (evening offering)

The person who is fasting decorates the food and fruit baskets made of bamboo on day three of Chhath Puja on this day, which are then brought to the ghats. Each devotee makes an arghya offering to the Sun God and Chhathi Maiya on the Ghat, and then they depart for their homes to partake in prasad. Goddess songs are sung as soon as night falls, and then the vrat Katha is spoken.

Day four: Usha Arghya (the morning offering)

On the fourth day, poojas are performed at the riverbanks after rising before the sun. As soon as the sun begins to rise, arghya is presented in the hopes of ensuring wealth and the safety of children. Following this, eating some prasad on the ghat marks the conclusion of the fast.