Sakat Chauth Vrat is observed on the fourth day of Krishna paksha, (the fading phase of moon) in the month of Magha according to Hindu lunar calendar. This year Sakat Chauth will fall on January 27, Thursday in 2016.
Sakat Chauth is also called Ganesh Chauth or Tilkuta Chauth. Lord Ganesha and the Moon God are worshiped on Sakat Chauth. This vrat is mainly observed in North India and this day is celebrated as Tilkut Chauth.
A full day fast is observed on this day. It is believed that fasting on Sakat Chauth removes all obstacles from life and Ganesha blesses his devotees with health, fortune and good children.
Sakat Chauth Vrat Method
On this day, married women who are observing the fast wake up early and take a bath, after which they wear new clothes, clean up the place of worship and chant “Om Ganeshaaya Namah” mantra 108 times. During the day devotees observe a fast. However milk, tea and fruits are allowed.
In the evening a Mandap is decorated in which Ganesha idol is placed. The idol is decorated with flowers and Doorva (grass) and desserts prepared with sesame seeds (til) and jaggery are offered to Ganesha. These special sweets are called “Naivaidya”. At the end of this puja, the Ganesha arti is sung. Some people keep the Prasad of this puja in front of the Ganesha idol for all night and share it with family members next morning.
The Moon god is also worshiped on this day. At night, after the moonrise, Arghya is given to the moon and after hearing the Sakat Chauth katha, the fast is broken. If the moon is not visible due to rain and clouds, the puja is performed according to the moon rise time.
Tilkut is a traditional Indian sweet made with sesame seeds and jaggery. After offering some tilkut and modak to Ganesha, devotees distribute it as prasad (holy offering) to their friends and family members.
Married women pray for health, wealth and well-being of their children. Fasting on Sakat Chauth is considered very auspicious. Mothers observe fast on this day so the hurdles from the life of their kids are removed.
Significance of Tilkut on Sakat Chauth
Sesame seeds are a great source of many valuable elements such as protein, calcium, phosphorous and magnesium. The black sesame seeds are very beneficial as well and jaggery is a great source of iron and calcium .The mixture of both produce body heat, increase our immunity and prevents us from the bad effects of the cold climate.
Similarly Doorva (grass) is also considered good for detoxification of body. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. With a healthy mind one can overcome all the hurdles and obstacles in life. This is the real meaning of offering Tilkut and Doorva to Lord Ganesha.
Legend of Sakat Chauth
According to the belief, there was a family in which 2 brothers and their wives lived together. The elder one was rich and younger one was poor. Elder brother’s wife was greedy and very cruel, but the wife of the younger brother was a devotee of Ganesha .On the day of Sakat Chauth, she performed puja but she had nothing to offer to Ganesha, so she asked the elder brother’s wife for some food, but that cruel lady insulted her and didn’t give her anything. The younger wife was very sad and tired so she went to sleep.
At night Lord Ganesha visited her home and blessed her with a lot of gold and diamond jewellery. When the greedy wife of the rich brother saw this, she also repeated the same procedure and invited Ganesha. But the angry Ganesha did not please and cursed her lot. The greedy lady realized her mistake, she could gain good fortune only after worshiping Ganesha with full devotion on Sakat Chauth. Ever since then people started worshiping Lord Ganesha on Sakat Chauth to get blessings from him.