Itu Puja is the worship of Surya, or Sun God, in Agrahan month in Bengal. The word ‘Itu’ has evolved from Mitu, which is a shortened form of Mitra. Itu Puja starts on the last day of Kartik month and is observed on all Sundays of the following month Agrahan. Sunday is considered auspicious for propitiating Surya.
The puja was originally meant or the preservation of seeds of the winter crops.
The puja is performed by both married and unmarried women. Once undertaken, a woman continues with its performance until her death or until she passes it on to her daughter or daughter in law.
A bowl filled with earth and a pot filled with water are kept along with other household deities during the puja.
The practitioner of the vrat eats vegetarian food on the day with no oil or turmeric.
On the day of the morning of puja, she eats only fruits and sweets offered for the puja. For lunch, she has boiled rice and vegetables and, for dinner, fried bread and a vegetable dish, along with sweets made of palm molasses.
A handful of five types of grains – rice, barley, wheat, whole lentils and white mustard – and a handful of five types of whole beans – dried pea, chick pea, pigeon pea, kidney beans and legumes- are scattered on the fresh earth, around a ghata (or earthen pot). These sprout and become plants by the end of the month long puja.
The earthen pot is immersed in a river or a pond at the end of the month long puja.