Chhath Puja : Satvik Kaddu Ki Sabzi Rules Festive Feast

After Diwali, something about the quiet lull is so insipid that it takes us a few days to restore to normal. Thankfully in places like Delhi, you don’t have to worry much as the preparations of Chhath Puja transforms the vibe again and makes everything colourful and festive shortly after Diwali. But Chhath Puja is not a Delhi phenomenon per se. It is a festival with its roots in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and some parts of Nepal. It is possibly one of the oldest Hindu festivals of all time and is celebrated across four days. Since it is celebrated on the sixth day of the lunar month of Karthika in the Hindu calendar of Vikram Samvat, the Puja is known as Chhath Puja, where ‘Chhath’ stands for sixth. 

Chhath Puja and Its Fascinating Rituals 

The older the festival, the more detailed the rituals; even the festival's four days have specific names and functions. Nyaya khaye is the first day of Puja, where the people take a bath early in the morning and clean their houses to install the deity. The second day of Chhath Puja is called Rasiaav Roti or Lohanda, where devotees fast. They cannot even consume a drop of water till the evening when they break the fast after eating Rasiaav or gur ki roti, chapati and some fruits. Day three is known for the Sandhya Arghya. On this day, people gather together and make prasad and bhog offerings at home all day like thekua and puffed rice ladoos, they keep it inside a bamboo or leaf basket, and in the evening, they offer the basket to the Sun God and Chhathi Maiyya (sun’s sister) along with water and milk. On the fourth and final day of Usha Arghya, they pray to the Sun God during the sun-rise half immersed in the Holy Ganges. People who are not in the vicinity of Ganges pray from their households. In Delhi, many devotees gather on the banks of the Yamuna to carry out the ritual. After the worship, the devotees drink sharbat, raw milk or eat some prasad to break their fast. If you are lucky, you can also witness an exciting ritual where-in they prepare a makeshift mandap with sugarcanes and light close to 24 diyas or earthen lamps. 

Significance Of Kaddu Ki Sabzi For Chhath Puja 

Since many people fast during the Chhat Puja, the food prepared for bhog is devoid of onion or garlic. It is supposed to be Satvik in nature and, of course, vegetarian. However, even the signature delicacies of the festival are so rooted and rustic. Take, for instance, the Kaddu Bhaat and a pumpkin sabzi served with vrat wale chawal. Some people also like to have kaddu ki sabzi with puri. This is one of the primary bhogs offered to the deity in the afternoon prepared by the Pravatain, or one of the main worshippers of the puja. The Parvaitin is supposed to be fasting too, and this meal is their last meal of the day consumed in the evening. 

But why Kaddu, you ask? Maybe you should first ask why do millions of people worship the sun even today. Hinduism is a pagan religion that emphasises on nature, and celestial bodies like the sun and moon are worshipped as they make the earth a liveable space for mortals. Kaddu or similar such vegetables are grown and cultivated on a massive scale in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and eating local and seasonal foods form a significant component of Indian dining habits. You can make your kaddu dry or semi-thick; the choice is yours. The typical preparation in Bihar is also slightly sweet. Kaddu has an inherent sweetness, but a dash of jaggery or sugar is also added to the preparation.  

Would you be cooking Kaddu as well on Chhath? Do let us know your recipe. You can try making this recipe too make sure you replace salt with sendha namak and remove onions and garam masala from the recipe.