Randhan Chhath and Sheethala Satham are the combined festivals celebrated predominantly in Gujarat. The festivals are mostly observed by women. They seek the blessings of Sri Sheethala Matha for the health, welfare and well being of their family members. Sri Sheethala Devi is one of the manifestations of Sri Durga Devi.
Randhan Chhath occurs on the Krishna Paksha Shasthi of Bhadrapada month as per Purnimantha and Shravan month as per Amantha calendars. For the Year 2022, it occurs on Wednesday, 17th August 2022. The exact duration of the Shashthi Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars.
As per the legend, Bhagwan Balarama, the elder brother of Sri Krishna is believed to be born two days prior to the birth of Bhagwan Krishna. Hence fasting is observed on this day in honor of the birth of the Bhagwan. The festival is also known by the names Randhan Chhat, Halashthi, Halachhath, Harchachatha Vrat, Chandan Chhath, Tinachthi, Tinnichhath, Lalhi Chhath and Khamar Chhath.
The name ‘’Randhan Chhath’’ means ‘’cooking on the sixth day’’. The women observe fasting for the whole day. However, they spend the day making food for the next day which is called as Sheethala Satham. The women prepare dishes such as theplas, alu sabzi etc.,
The cooking is mostly done on the mud stoves. After completing the cooking, the stoves are smeared and sanctified with cow dung. The ashes of the firewood remain in the stoves only.
The day is spent on doing prayers to Sri Sheethala Devi. Sri Sheethala Devi is invoked in the prayer place in the house. The plough used for agriculture is sincerely worshipped on the day. The food made from the field using plough and food from the cow are prohibited for Neivedyam on this day. Hence, cow’s milk, curd and butter as well as the grains and fruits are not offered to the Goddess. Only the buffalow’s milk and curd and mahua flowers are offered to Sri Sheethala Devi.
Sheethala Satham is the festival in honor of Sri Sheethala Devi. It occurs on the Krishna Paksha Sapthami of Bhadrapada month as per Purnimantha and Shravan month as per Amantha calendars. For the Year 2022, it occurs on Thursday, 18th August 2022. The exact duration of the Sapthami Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars.
It is believed that Sri Sheethala Devi visits the kitchens on this day and if any cooking happens, the curse befalls the household. Hence, as per custom, only old food is offered as Nevideyam and partaken on this day. The food prepared on Randhan Chhath is distributed and consumed on this day.
Sheethala Satham is also known as Sheethala Sapthami. On this day, womenfolk visit the nearby Durga Devi temples with the prepared food. They offer the food as Neivedyam to the Goddess. They partake of the Prasadam by noon time after taking blessings from the elders.
It is believed that sincere and devout observation of Randhan Chhath and Sheethala Satham shall bring in prosperity, welfare and health for the family.