Randhan Chhath is basically a unique observance of a household ritual carried out by the women in Gujarat. It is unique in the sense the day is not an auspicious day to observe any fast or ritual, rather it is a preparatory day for another ritual, which is the Shitala Satam.
The Randhan Chhath is observed in Gujarat in the month of Shravan. The Randhan Chhath is celebrated on the sixth day of the Krishna Paksha of the Shravana month as per the traditional Hindu calendar. According to Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated in the month of August.
In 2017, the date for Randhan Chhath is 13th of August, Sunday. As the food is cooked on the sixth day, thus the name came into being Chath, or six, and thus the name Randhan Chhath, i.e. cooking done on the sixth day.
What is Randhan Chhath?
Randhan Chhath is a day dedicated to Goddess Shitala. It is a day when all the women of the household get together to prepare various delicacies for the ritual next day, Shitala Satam; as it is prohibited to cook food on Shitala Satam and also eat warm food. The foods prepared are all items included in the full Gjarati dinner including daar, sakh, rice, rotli etc. after the cooking is over, the earthen hearth is cleaned thoroughly by using cow dung and the ash remains in the hearth. Of course with modern times, the cooking place needs to be cleaned and made neat.
What is the legend behind Randhan Chhath?
According to popular legends, Ma Shitala does not like anyone cooking on the Shitala Satam day, a day when her vrat is observed; and thus goes around seeing which household is cooking on that day. Wherever she sees the hearth lighted up, she curses the food and the family too. Thus to seek her blessings, food is prepared one day ahead of the Shitala Sartam. This is the Randhan Chhath day.
What is the significance of Randhan Chhath?
The devout devotees assuming that food cannot be cooked on the Shitala Satam day, prepares various food items which can be preserved for 24 hours on the day of the Randhan Chhath. Some prepare spicy food, some not so spicy, but the act is on efull of fun and contentment as the next day there will be no cooking and only cold food will be served. Two of the food items that are mandatorily prepared during the Randhan Chhath are the kheer and the Thekua.
It is believed that an observation of the Randhan Chhath and the Shitala Satam brings in eternal happiness for married people and also blesses children with lot of success in their education and other ventires. In general these two days are observed to seek blessings from Shitala Mata to bless for peace, prosperity and well being for the devotees.