The Chhath Puja is a significant festival which is excitedly celebrated in Bihar and major part of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Mauritius too. Chhath Puja in Bihar is celebrated with much passion in Most of the Bhojpuri and Maithili speaking region. During this Pooja which is also known as Dala Chhath, setting sun is worshipped. Women observe this challenging fast of 36 hours since ages with consistent faith that the God Sun make all wishes come true if the ceremonial ritual of offering Araghya to setting sun is done with complete devotion.
As per myths, it is said that Chhath pooja is being performed since time immortal by Draupadi. She was wife of Pandavas. One day when Pandavas were on their exile from own kingdom, 88 thousand Bhikshuk (wondering solitary person) visited Pandvas and due to Hindu customs they were supposed to treated nicely and offered food. But the Pandavas hardly have sufficient food for themselves only. Finding Pandavas in a complex situation, Draupadi requested to the noble sage Dhaumya for help. Dhaumya, who was satisfied with the virtue of devotion to the God Sun. Thus, Draupadi not only resolved this instant complexity but her devotion to the God Sun helped Pandvas to regain their lost Kingdom.
Surya Shasthi or Chhath Puja is a spiritual and strict observance that goes till four days. On the first day of this pious occasion people take a holy dip in the river Ganges. People clean their houses completely. The second day of Chhath Pooja is named as Kharna and on this day devotee women observe a fast of entire day and this fast is ended up with devotion to Mother Earth. In this ritual ceremony rice kheer and fruits are offered to the God which is distributed to all friends and family members. On third day of Chhath pooja, all women of the house prepare Prasad. Sandhya Arghya is the highlight of this day.
Houses are thoroughly cleaned on this day. The second day of Chhath, also known as Kharna, involves devotees to observe a day long fast which is broken in the late evening after performing the worship of Mother Earth. The offerings to the God include rice pudding (kheer) and fruits, which is distributed among family members and friends. The third day of Chhath goes in the preparation of the prasad (offerings) for the evening offerings, also known as Sanjhiya Arghya.
On the night of the third day, a colorful event recognized as Kosi is organized. A shelter is made using lighted earthen lamps and five sugarcane sticks, are placed within shelter along with baskets filled of offering (Prasad). On the final day or fourth day of Chhath pooja, entire family along with children and older ones go to the river bank to offer Arghya to the rising sun. After this offering, devotee women end up their fast and distribute Prasad to relatives and neighbors.
On the fourth and final day of Chhath, family members and friends go to the banks of river before sunrise and make offerings (Aragh) to the rising sun. After this ritual, devotees break their fast and distribute prasad to neighbors and relatives.