SAKAT / GANESH CHAUTH
Sakat Chauth is also known as ‘Mahi Chauth’ or ‘Ganesh Chauth’ or ‘Tilkuta Chauth’. Each lunar month in Hindu calendar has two Chaturthi Tithis. The Tithi after full moon during Krishna Paksha is known as ‘Krishna Paksha Chaturthi’ and devotees observe ‘Sankashti Chaturthi’ fasting on each Krishna Paksha Chaturthi. The most significant Sankashti Chaturthi falls in month of ‘Magh’. It is observed as ‘Sakat Chauth’. Lord Ganesha and the Moon God are the fundamental highlights of this day. If Sankashti Chaturthi falls on Tuesday, it is known as ‘Angarki Chaturthi’ and it is considered highly auspicious. Sankashti Chaturthi fasting is mainly observed in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Fasting and Puja Procedure:
On this day, married women observe a full day fast. They wake-up early in the morning, take a bath, wear new clothes and decorate their place of worship. The name of ‘Lord Ganesh’ is usually chanted 108 times.
During the day-time, fasting is practised. People observing strict fast do not eat anything throughout the day. Water is however permitted. Partial fast observers on the other hand, consume milk, fruits, nuts and curd. Fasting is done for the well-being, health and wealth of their children. It is believed that
‘Lord Ganesha’ who is the remover of all obstacles from life blesses his devotees with health, fortune and good children. In the evening, Lord Ganesha idol is decorated with flowers and ‘Doorva’ (grass). The offerings to the God include desserts prepared with black sesame seeds and jaggery. At the end of the puja, arti is sung and camphor light is waved before the God. At night, a mixture of water and milk is offered to the moon.
Sakat Chauth is the day to please the Moon God in order to overcome the negative effects caused by Him. After the recitation of the Sakat Chauth Story, the fast is broken.
Sakat Chauth Vrat Story: Once, a potter who lived in a village made beautiful pots. He used to harden them in furnace. One yr., fire in the furnace was unable to harden the pots even after repeated attempts. Hearing this, the king consulted royal priest, who suggested sacrificing a child each time the furnace was prepared. Every family in the village started giving one of their children to obey order of the King. After a while, an old woman's turn came. She had only one son and his turn was on the day of Sakat Chauth. The old woman who was an ardent devotee of ‘Sakat Maataa’ offered him a betel nut and a betel leaf and prayed to ‘Goddess Sakat’. The furnace which usually took several days to cook pots, cooked in one day. The child was thus saved by 'Goddess Sakat'.