Chhath Puja 2023: As the eagerly anticipated four-day festival of Chhath Puja kicks off on November 17 and concludes on November 20, devotees are gearing up to celebrate with enthusiasm and devotion. Originating in the Mithila region of Nepal and Bihar, Chhath Puja is a significant Hindu festival, celebrated not only in India but also in Nepal. This festival, which falls on the sixth day of Diwali, is dedicated to the worship of the Sun God and his sister, Chhathi Maiyya, believed to be the daughter of Lord Brahma. Chhath Puja fasting is traditionally observed by women, although men can also partake in the rituals. The festival is particularly prominent in the Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. To help you make the most of this auspicious occasion, here's an insightful guide to the essential prasad items that devotees offer to Chhathi Maiyya.
Among the most popular Chhath prasads, Thekua is an Indian cookie crafted from whole-wheat flour, jaggery or sugar, and ghee. This delectable treat takes on various forms, such as khajuria, tikari, and thokni, depending on slight ingredient tweaks. A vital part of the worship ceremony, Thekua holds a special place in the hearts of devotees, and even children eagerly anticipate enjoying it after the morning arghya.
Prepared on the second day of Chhath Puja, known as Kharna, Rasiya is a mouthwatering prasad enjoyed with roti by those observing the Chhath fast. Comprising mashed ripe bananas, grated coconuts, jaggery, milk, ghee, cardamom powder, and chopped nuts, Rasiya is slow-cooked on an open flame. This sumptuous dish serves as the final meal before the 36-hour 'nirjala' fast, concluding only after Sandhya Arghya on the following day.
An integral part of Chhath Puja, bananas are not only a popular bhog item but also hold symbolic significance in Hindu mythology. The banana tree is considered auspicious and is associated with Lord Vishnu, making it a favored fruit of Chhathi Maiyya.
A variation of Thekua, Khajoor is made with all-purpose flour, suji or semolina, dry fruits, ghee, and sugar instead of jaggery. This sweet delicacy adds a delightful twist to the prasad offerings.
Rich in vitamin C, Daabh Nimbu is a favorite offering of Chhathi Maiyya and boasts numerous health benefits. Packed with fiber and essential nutrients, it aids in digestive health and serves as a superfood for maintaining heart health due to its high antioxidant and flavonoid content.
Fresh coconut and coconut-based dishes play a crucial role in Chhath prasad. Recognized as a source of instant energy, coconut is rich in good cholesterol and provides a powerful nutrient mix, including fiber, potassium, and iron.
The Chhath daliya is filled with healthy and nutritious prasad items, including water chestnut, also known as singhara. This hydrating and low-calorie fruit is rich in antioxidants, aids in digestion, and helps regulate blood pressure, among other benefits.
Considered auspicious for any puja, sugarcane is an essential part of Chhath Puja. The fresh harvest of sugarcane is offered to goddess Chhathi Maiyaa to seek her blessings and symbolizes prosperity and abundance.