Following suit of last year, this year too, the Chhath Puja celebrations have been restricted to homes in Delhi, with only a few selected places designated for a congregation. Chhath Puja is a Maha parv for the Hindus, especially in the regions of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. There are several rituals that are performed during this festival, including taking a dip in the holy water. While last year the pandemic had dimmed the spirits of people because they were confined to their homes, this year there is a slight ray of hope with decline in the number of cases. 

My basic understanding of the festival is based on what my friend, who is of Bihari origin, has told me about it all these years. Last year, since they were celebrating at home, I had the chance of witnessing all the rituals being performed live. Her mother took a dip in the water (a dug-out pit filled with water) till the sun set while praying to the Sun God. All this time when everything was being carried out, I kept wondering about the 36-hour long fast that the women have to keep who perform these customs. 

During this four-day long festival, fasting begins on the second day of the celebrations and then you can break your fast at the end of the day which is to be continued on the third day and finally broken on the fourth day when the sun rises. Each day, from Nahaya Khaya to Kharin, there are several foods that should be consumed when breaking your fasts. 

Since you have to go without food or water for a long period of time, it is very important that you keep yourself energized and keeping this in mind, here are some tips that you can follow to fast smart this year. 

1.  Hydration Is The Key 

From buttermilk to lassi and fresh juices, you have plenty of options to drink and keep yourself hydrated during the fast. In order to practice the Nirjala vrat, it is best to avoid any kind of aerated drinks or those with preservatives. 

2.  End Your Day With A Light Meal 

Not just during fasts, but in general also, it is recommended to keep your last meal of the day really light. The idea is to ensure that it gets easily digested and doesn’t create too much acid in the stomach. You can have some simple dal, curd or even a mildly-sweet kheer preparation but go light on the sweets. 

3.  Chew Slowly 

The reason to chew slowly is to allow each bite of food to be broken down properly so that the stomach doesn’t have to go through a lot of trouble to break it down for you. Savour each bite and enjoy the food since you are eating after a long break so gulping down food quickly wouldn’t help. 

4.  Combine Proteins And Carbs 

In order to prepare your body for the upcoming fast, you should consume carbs like sweet potato and proteins like paneer, curd etc. so that your body sustains during the fast for a longer time. Since these complex carbs are slower to break down, your body will receive small bouts of energy at regular intervals.