Chhath Puja 2021: 6 Traditional Foods That Are Significant To The Festival
Image Credit: From thekua to rasiyaw, there are several traditional delicacies to relish this Chhath puja.

After the Diwali pomp and show, if you thought that festivities had come to an end, you are absolutely wrong. Right from Navratri, the string of festivals that fall one after the other makes it a festive season in its truest sense. Just when certain parts of the country is recovering from a long Diwali break and getting back to routine, there are some others which are gearing up for yet another huge parv (festival). Originally a Bihari festivity, the celebrations of this four-day long festival can be seen across Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand too. 

Celebrated twice a year, once in the summer months and then in the Hindu month of Kartik, Chhath puja goes on for four days, with each day holding a special significance for the worshippers. During the festival, the Sun God or Surya Devta is offered prayers along with a special prasad on each day. The Sun God is believed to bring light to one’s life so people pray for happiness and prosperity. Beginning with the setting of the sun, the sunrise marks the end of the holy rituals. Men and women observe day-long fasts and take a dip in the holy water of Ganga or Yamuna. 

During this period, you are required to abstain from certain foods like onion, ginger and garlic along with non-vegetarian food like meat. At the same time, there are certain special foods which are prepared to be served to the god as prasad before consumption. These traditional delicacies are not only delicious in taste but also hold a special significance in terms of the rituals. 

This Maha parv of the Hindus is considered to be one of rigorous fasting, so much so that even water is not consumed. However, despite the fasts, lavish feasts are prepared that can be offered to the sun as well as relished by the family later. 

Here are some authentic food traditions that are of utmost importance for Chhath Puja. 

1.  Rasiyaw

Any festivity is incomplete without a sweet dish. Mithais or desserts are usual suspects during festive season in India. While kheer is a commonly-found rice pudding, this kheer is special because it is made with jaggery, milk and water. Colloquially known as rasiyaw, this sweet bowl of pudding is usually paired with deep-fried pooris. The fulfilling meal at the end of a fast is usually consumed on the second day and believed to gear up the body for the changes in weather. 

2.  Kaddu Ki Sabzi 

A lot of you might fret at the sight of pumpkin but this subzi is a Chhath Puja staple. Made in ghee, the kaddu is spruced up with rock salt instead of common salt. This dish is a core component of the festive thali and can be accompanied with pooris.  Often, ghiya ki subzi (bottle gourd) is also prepared on the first day of the celebrations, to be eaten with rice for breakfast. It is considered to cleanse the body. 

3.  Thekua 

These deep-fried biscuit-like snacks are very intrinsic to Chhath Puja celebrations. A combination of wheat flour, mixed with sugar and ghee, thekua is fried in loads of ghee and rich with the crunch of dry fruits. These crispy tikkis are a prasad for the god after the evening prayer ritual. 

4.  Hara Chana 

Another savoury dish that is paired with the pooris is hara chana. The overnight-soaked chickpeas can either be eaten raw or spruced up with ghee, green chilies and cumin. 

5.  Kasar 

The spherical balls of coconut and ghee are loaded with dry fruits and relished on Chhath Puja. Kasar is basically rice flour ladoos which are prepared for the festive occasion. The roasted rice flour is mixed with other ingredients to be rolled into balls of heaven. The use of ghee adds richness to the flavour of these sweets. A winter staple, this culmination of powdered rice and jaggery helps in giving warmth to the body. 

6.  Laal Saag 

The leafy vegetable that adds to the savoury elements of the prasad, this healthy item is a great side dish to be eaten with roti. While kaddu ki subzi is delicious, this laal saag can also be made spicy by adding red chilies and ginger. 

Apart from this, there are several fruits like singhara which are special to the festival and consumed during these four days.