Chaiti Chhath Puja, also known as Chota Chhath Puja, is celebrated on Chaitra Shashthi in the beginning of summer season (March-April), a few days after Holi festival. Since it is celebrated in the Chaitra month as per Hindu calendar, the festival is also called Chaitra Chhath.
Similar to Kartik Chhath, it is also a four day festival, which is also known by the names Naha Khay, Kharna, Sanjhiya or Sandhya Ghat and Bhorwa Ghat or Paran Chhath.
The first day of Chhath Puja is called Nahay Khay, which literally means “bath and eat”. Devotees take a holy bath in the river Ganges to purify their body and mind and practice self-resistance from the worldly things. Women observe fast on this day and take only one meals namely, kaddu bhat with dal (chana or mung dal). It is a custom to use only soil or bronze utensils to prepare the meal.
The second day is called Kharna. It is also known as Lohanda or Barauna. On this day, women observe fast and in the evening they prepare special Prasad which include kheer (a sweet dish of rice and jaggery), puris and fruits. This Prasad is first offered to the Chhathi Maiya and later the women devotees break their fast by eating this Prasad. After that, the Prasad is distributed among other members of the family and friends.
Third day of the Puja is called Sandhya Ghat which means ‘Evening Offering’. Delicacies and Prasad are prepared the whole day. In the evening, the devotees and the family members wear new clothes and sit on the bank of a river or any other water body and worship Sun God by singing Chhath songs for one or two hours. Immediately after the sunset, they perform the rituals of Sandhya Arghya.
The fourth and final day of the Chhath puja is called Paran Chhath or Bhorwa Ghat (Morning Arghya). On this day, again the devotees go to the banks of the river or other water body in the early morning and perform the offering to the rising Sun. After the morning rituals, they return home and break their fast by taking ginger and water, and eat delicious food.