The Third Day of Chhath Puja: Evening Offering (Sandhya Arghya)
The third day of Chhath Puja is the day of Sandhya Arghya. This is word used in Maithili, Bhojpuri and Hindi language. That means in English Evening Offering.
The Chhath Puja falls in either in Kartik or Mangsir (October or November) each year, depending on the cycle of the moon. Some year, it goes to fall in early Push / Paush (December) too. Chhath Pooja falls in 6th day of Dark Moon of Kartik month of Hindu Calendar. The Chhath Puja festival actually runs for four days long.
A photo taken in the countryside of Nepal
Chhath Puja begins with Nuhane Khane (नुहाउने खाने) or Nahai Khai that means Bath & Eat. The third day of Chhath Puja is Sandhya Arghya that means Evening Offering.
On this day, devotees observe whole day and night fast without consuming water. They spent a whole day in preparing Puja offerings. All the offerings are kept with clean and purity in the especial kind tray made up of bamboo. Offerings includes some special kinds of recipes like Thekua and coconut, banana and other seasonal fruits as well.
In the evening time of this day, devotees go to take bath and offer to goddess of sun, especially in time of setting sun. The evening ritual is performed at the banks of river or pond or any clean water body. They should be pure, as it is the festival of clean and purity.
All the devotees (Vratalu), their family, friends and visitors assemble their and the agrahya is offered to the setting Sun. Lightened earthen lamps (diyas) are kept beneath the covering of five sugarcane sticks or 24 sticks (as per local tradition). ‘Kosi’ – One of the most charming events during Chhath Puja known as ‘Kosi’ is celebrated at the courtyard of the house after evening offerings. They thanks to goddess Sun by offering with some fruits, flowers, sweets etc.
In the night time, devotees stayed whole night at the Ghat some region of Nepal but in some regions, devotees return to their home after offering Arghayas to the Sun. It is depending the on the place where you are celebrating Chhath Puja.
If the Ghat is far from their home, they stay whole night at the Ghat with their families, friends and relatives. But if the Ghat i.e. bank of river, pond is not far from their home, devotees return home after offering. And next day in the morning they use to go in the Ghat.
This year the third day of Chhath Puja, Sandhya Arghya is at 02, November 2019 (Kartik 16, 2076), Saturday.