Chhath Puja 2023: What is Kharna? Know the shubh muhurat, rituals, puja samagri and dos & don'ts
Discover the significance of Chhath Puja, a Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun God. Explore rituals like Kharna, with insights on timings, offerings, and essential dos and don'ts for a meaningful celebration.
Chhath Puja is a special Hindu celebration dedicated to the Sun God and Chhathi Maiya, mainly observed in places like Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and parts of Nepal. It happens about six days after Diwali, in the Hindu month of Kartika. The festival is important because it's about worshipping the Sun, seen as the giver of life and energy on Earth. People believe that by praying to the Sun God, they're asking for blessings for the health, wealth, and long life of their families. During Chhath Puja, there are many rituals like fasting, taking holy baths, and offering prayers to the rising and setting sun. The festival lasts for four days, and each day has its own rituals and meanings.
One key part of Chhath Puja is Kharna, which occurs on the second day. On this day, fasting devotees, called Vratis, follow a strict fast without water. They break their fast in the evening after offering prayers to the setting sun. During Kharna, Vratis make a special offering called "Thekua" or "Rasiyaw," along with fruits and traditional sweets. They give this offering to the Sun God, and then they end their day-long fast by eating this special food. This process is considered sacred and is thought to bring happiness, prosperity, and well-being to the family.
This year, devotees will be observing the Kharna ritual on November 18, marking the commencement of Chhath Puja on November 17, and concluding on November 20. To ensure a meaningful and successful Kharna, it is crucial to be aware of the auspicious timings, gather the appropriate puja samagri (items), and adhere to the dos and don'ts associated with this significant ritual.
Kharna Timings (Shubh Muhurat)
Sunrise on Chhath Puja Day – 06:46 AM
Sunset on Chhath Puja Day – 05:26 PM
Shashthi Tithi Begins – 09:18 AM on November 18, 2023
Shashthi Tithi Ends – 07:23 AM on November 19, 2023
Kharna Offerings and Puja Samagri
Common offerings include fruits, especially bananas and sugarcane. Additionally, homemade sweets like thekua are traditionally prepared for the occasion. It is advised to collect water from a sacred river or any clean water source for purification purposes. Lighting lamps symbolizes divine energy and is a way to seek blessings. When offering prasad and covering puja items, using red cloth is recommended.
Some Dos of Kharna
Before engaging in any of the rituals, devotees should ensure to take a bath each of the four days. It is advisable to consume Satvik food, avoiding ingredients like onion and garlic. On the first day, Nahay Khay, devotees are encouraged to thoroughly clean every nook and cranny of their homes. Worshipping Surya Dev or the Sun God and seeking blessings from elders in the family are important aspects. When preparing prasad, the use of rock salt is recommended. Listening to the Vrat Katha during the night is also part of the observance.
Certain precautions should be taken during Chhath Puja:
1. Avoid using onion and garlic in cooking.
2. Refrain from consuming the prasad before offering it to Chhathi Maiya (Usha) and the Sun God.
3. Abstain from non-vegetarian food throughout these four days.
4. Do not handle puja samagri without washing your hands.
5. Refrain from smoking or consuming alcohol on the days of the puja.
These guidelines aim to ensure a spiritually enriching and disciplined observance of Chhath Puja and its associated rituals.