Chhath, the festival which is is celebrated six days after Diwali, is believed to be even older than the ancient Vedic texts. The ritual is also mentioned in the Rigveda.
The Chhath ritual of worshipping the Sun God, even finds its mention in the Mahābhārata when on sage Dhaumya’s advice, Draupadi performs similar rites to help the Pandavas regain their lost kingdom of Hastinapur.
According to a folklore in the state of Bihar, there’s another history behind celebrating Chhath Puja.
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From that point on the ritual became a tradition and over the years transformed into the festival of Chhath.
AP – Bernat Armangue
On the first day of the Puja (Nahan Khan), the devotees take a dip in a river or a pond early in the morning and then carry some water home from the same water body to prepare prasad.
They clean their houses and its surroundings and have only one meal on this day.
New Indian Express
During this puja (sandhya arghya), the entire household, along with extended family, friends and acquaintances accompany them to the riverbank or pond as they worship the setting sun.
For the whole evening, the family sings folk songs and celebrates.
One of the biggest reasons that Chhath has special place for a Bihari, is because Sita’s homeland Janakpur was located in the Mithila, a region which falls in Nepal and partially in Bihar, and this is where they believe Chhath Puja originated.
Exotic Places to Travel
Interestingly, a majority of people who are away from home are ready to miss Diwali, but not Chhath Puja as it touches an emotional chord with them as the whole family gathers to celebrate it.
Here’s a compelling video by Bihar Tourism Board on Chhath: