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Chatth Pooja – Scientific Aspects

Chatth is a festival celebrated on the sixth day of Kartika (according to the Hindu Calendar) in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, UP and some parts of Nepal. Rituals are performed to thank Lord Surya and Chatthi Maai( Lord Surya’s Sister).

The rituals begin with taking a dip in the Kosi River. The ladies fast the entire day and take one meal in the evening. The first day is thus called, Naha-Kha.

On the second day, Kheer and Puri is distributed amongst family members while the Vratins continue to fast for 36 hours. On the third day of the ritual, offerings are made to the Sun Lord in the evening. Devotees stand in the water for a long time and give Arag( jal) to the Sun Lord. This is commonly known as the Sajhiya Ghat Celebrations. On the final day, Suryodaya Argh and morning prayers are offered to the Sun. After the completion of the rituals, the Vratins finally break their fast with Ginger and Jaggery.

These four days are considered very holy. All houses and streets are swept clean. It is one of the most difficult fasting festivals, during which the Vratins fast for almost 3 days without water. Since, it is a very long fast, certain medical implications and precautions must be kept in mind.

  1. Eat a light last meal before the fast: This helps in keeping the gut low on acidic flow. Some plain Chapatis, Curd, Dal and Kheer make an appropriate meal. Don’t eat heavily sugared desserts.
  2. Hydration before the fast starts: Intake of fluids other than water is a must to keep the body hydrated for the next few days. Drinks like Lassi, Chach and lemonade help in gaining instant energy.
  3. Eat healthy carbs: Loading up on complex carbohydrates like sweet potato, oats, cheese and curd help with the fasting.
  4. Avoid Chatth Pooja Fast in the following cases:
  • If the woman is pregnant or lactating.
  • If the woman is diabetic or has Blood Pressure problems.
  • Patients with compromised kidneys should not do this fast.

Even though, Chatth Pooja is a highly religious tribute to the Sun God for sustaining life on the planet, it has some scientific implications too.

  1. It improves the immunity of the devotee by increasing the White Blood Cells count in the body.
  2. The Sun radiations are antiseptic in nature and thus cure fungal and bacterial skin infections.
  3. Helps improve the circulation of hormones in the body.
  4. It provides a state of mental peace and quiet, thus reducing flow of negative emotions like anger and jealousy.
  5. Helps in detoxification of the body.
  6. Enhances the appearance of the skin.
  7. It helps improve eyesight by viewing the Sun through a stream of water, early in the morning.
  8. Helps in the absorption of Vitamin D by the body from UVB rays, prominent during Sunrise and Sunset.
  9. Vitamin D thus in turn improves the absorption of Calcium in the blood.
  10. It helps fight infertility as deficiency of Vitamin D has been linked to decreasing fertility.

 


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