FEATURE: Chhath: a festival for the sun god
KATHMANDU (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) – The annual festival, which is celebrated by mostly Madhesi communities, concluded on Sunday.
Chhath, a festival dedicated to Sun God, was observed across the Tarai region and some hill districts including Kathmandu. The Chhath festival concluded on Sunday with devotees offering prayers to the rising sun in the morning.
The Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun God and his wife Usha is observed for four days for the well-being, and prosperity of the family. The rituals of Chhath festival include fasting—even abstaining from drinking water—offering prayers to the setting and rising sun, popularly known as Arghya and offering prasad. The prasad prepared for this auspicious occasion includes fruits and rice pudding.
Primarily celebrated by the people from the Mithila culture, the festival these days also attracts people from the hills. The festival falls on the sixth day of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik, which usually coincides with October or November in the Gregorian calendar.
The festival begins with the ‘Nahay-Khay’ and ‘Kharna’ rituals and devotees offer arghya on the third day, which is considered the toughest of all the days. Devotees observe a day-long fast completely abstaining from food and water. In the evening, they go to a pond or riverbank, take a dip and worship the setting Sun. People sing folk songs dedicated to goddess Chhathi Maiya as devotees take a holy dip.
On the concluding of the festival, devotees wake up before sunrise and head to the same water body—this time to worship the rising Sun. The ritual is also known as “paaran”. After offering prayers, devotees break their 36-hour fast.