Chhath also known as Dal Chhath is a Hindu festival dedicated to the Hindu Sun God also known as Surya or Surya Shashti.
Chhath Puja falls on the sixth day of the Kartik month of Hindu lunar calendar and somewhere in the month of October or November according to the Christian calendar. This performed in order to thank Surya for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes.
The Sun, considered the god of energy and of the life-force, is worshiped during the Chhath fesival to promote well-being, prosperity and progress.
The rituals which are performed during the worship of the Sun God are supposed to cure leprosy and help the devotees in living a long prosperous life.
The festivities consist of four days meant for fasting and penance by standing inside the water for long times. Chhath Puja vrat is observed for three days, starting from the second day. Worshippers observe fast or upvaas, known as Kharna, from sunrise until the evening, when the sun sets. Puja is performed and the deities are offered with kheer, sweets and fruits.
On the first day of Chhath, the Parvaitins are supposed to take only one meal during the day that too after the sunset. On the second day, the Parvaitins are supposed to fast the whole day and are supposed to break it only after the sunset when they are done with the Puja. Thereafter, Parvaitins go on a fast for next 36 hours.
They open their fast on the fourth day after they offer prayers to the rising sun in the morning. With folded hands, they welcome the Sun, offering sandalwood, vermillion, rice and fruits covered in saffron colored cotton cloth. Chanting of the mantras and hymns are done continuously.