Wisdom of Life

Chhath, under the shadows of Himalayas…


Chhath Puja is the expression and culture of Hindi society


Translator - Ankit Bansal

In the mid of 18th century, British Government began cultivating tea in Darjeeling hills. They brought the labour from south Bihar at very cheap rate by luring them. After few days business class peoples from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh gradually began to arrive. These people came here with their cultural heritage. And educated people also started arriving here in search of employment. The construction work of Darjeeling Himalayan Railways began in 1879 under observation of Darjeeling Steam Tramway Company. For this purpose the large numbers of railroad labourers were brought from Bihar who arrived here along with their cultural heritage. Actually, Chhath Puja was emerged as a powerful expression of the culture of Hindi common society. Like this, in the beginning phase of 19th century, Chhath Puja started under the appetizing shade of Himalayas. It is a cognoscible that the movie script Sagina Mahato was written in this area. Sagina Mahato, who came from the remote village of Bihar, has become a figure of culture and voyage. Initially, the holy Mahanada intricate with tea gardens in the Himalayan area became the base of Chhath Puja. According to their convenience, some workers began Chhath Puja around mountain streams. Under the shadows of Himalayas, the culture of Hindi labour society was first expressed in the form of Chhath Puja. Over time, it has attracted many religious societies and cultures. Gradually, this festival spread to the Terai region of North Bengal and reached up to Sikkim. Today this festival symbolizes unity in diversity as India’s composite culture. According to astrology, the naming of the months is based on secular stars (Nakshatra). According to Hindu calendar, Chhath Puja is celebrated on Kritika Nakshatra namely the Kartik month. According to astrological calculations, the cluster Krittika Nakshatra is the formation of six stars. In the Vedic period also the formation of six stars were called as Krittika Nakshatra. That’s the reason why Chhath Puja begins on the Sukla Paksha of Sasthi Tithi in month of Kartik.

Social Aspect of Chhath Puja:

The month of Kartik is the cultivation month of new crop. By this time the rice and Kritika crops are harvested. By this time new fruits and flowers are fully-grown on trees. Initially the weather starts changing and the farmer starts sowing their Rabi crops on the field. Since India is a land of farmers and nearly 75 per cent of the population is still dependent on agriculture, the agricultural economy of the country is considered to be the backbone of Indian economy. The joy and enthusiasm of farmers to the new harvest is ready during this time. There is also the excitement of planting new crops. The joy of the farmers can be seen as an expression of Chhath Puja. Remarkably, the person who does vows (Fasting) consumes rice pudding (Kheer) during Kharna. In this festival season’s all flowers, fruit and cereal is used.

The Prevalence of Chhath Puja in Vedic Times:

Chhath Puja was celebrated even in the Vedic period. There are lots of examples, but there was a different form of worship. With the change of time there way of worship has also been changed. In Vedic times, people believed that the gods do not eat. People use to do hawans offers Ghee, Milk, Fruits, flowers, grains, etc. on Hawan Kund for God. These offerings were turned into smoke as fire blown it. There was a strong belief that the Vedic gods receives those offerings from the smoke. At that time the people used to believe that the smoke formed from the Agni/Hawan-Kund goes on the sky and form the cloud which causes rainfall. The Vedic society had a huge respect on Sun, the Surya Devta because the Surya Devta used to convert the river and seas to vapour and with his temperature and which later forms a cloud and caused rainfall. Initially the sun is recognized as the source of energy, therefore sun is being respected and Devta. According to the ancient mythology, Kritika is known as the group of six sisters later on who were respected as Goddess. There was a tradition by Vedic society of offerings to Surya Devta every day while the offering to Kritika was done on once a year. Ancient Egypt also used to worship Surya Devta. In ancient time period Vedic myth as fact changed. Chhath Puja was initiated by the people of Hindi culture from Bihar at the beginning but later this festival attracted different class of people towards it. In ancient time with Kritika, Kartikeya borne from Shiva-semen was also been added and Chhath Puja was also connected with the name of Kartikeya. This is why many women do Chhath Puja fasting in the desire of baby -boy. By the vow of Chhath Puja, people believe that one can get happiness, prosperity, realization of desired children, healing the body and good harvest. Since the sun is considered the king of all stars and constellation and according to myth in Kartik month the sun resides in the area of Kritika constellation, Therefore, in Chhath Puja, the tradition of giving Argya(अर्ग ) to sun along with Kritika was started. On the day of Sasthi and Saptami thousands of ghats and devotees on the bank of the holy Mahananda River (ejected from the womb of Himalayas) makes feel like rich heritage of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh flag is raised on the Himalayan valleys. But Hindi people have a complaint towards Siliguri Municipal Corporation that they charge the hefty amount from the various Chhath Puja Committees in the name of cleaning and power supply. The Hindi people request the administration to take immediate step to stop this procurement.

By: Rajendra Prasad Singh (Aapka Teesta Himalay)

Translated By: Ankit Bansal


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About Author: Ankit

Ankit Bansal started website development since 2008 and is a M. Sc.IT degree holder from KUVEMPU University. He started blogging in year 2010 and pumped up different topics like technology, career, health and travel in his blog. His websites has continuously jumped up in alexa ranking over due course of time. He now runs his own SEO and Website Development firm, RS Infosolution in Siliguri, West Bengal.