Monday, October 26, 2009
Chhath puja ends with reverence to Surya Dev
The four-day Chhath festival ended Sunday in Bihar with millions of devotees, mostly women, taking a dip in the Ganga river and praying to the rising sun. The devotees also ended their 36-hour long fast by offering prayers and floating lighted earthen lamps in the river. They sang folk songs and offered prayers to the sun god. “Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the banks of Ganga, other rivers, ponds and other water bodies across Bihar early (Sunday) morning to offer ‘Araghya’ to the rising sun to mark the end of Chhath puja,” said Savitri Devi, a devotee. Another devotee Purnima Yadav said the devout were waiting for sunrise and sang traditional songs in groups. At the break of dawn, they offered ritual and prayers for divine blessings. She said devotees had offered prayers to the setting sun Saturday. The offerings comprising fruits, home-made sweets like thekuas, pedas, pakwan, chawal ke laddoo, raw vegetables and the first crop from the fields were also distributed. All these sweets and offerings were arranged in scoops, baskets and trays made of bamboo.
Sun, considered the god of energy and life-force, is worshipped during Chhath for well-being, prosperity and progress.
A rare show of brotherhood and harmony was on display during the festival when people cutting across social barriers gathered to celebrate Chhath in villages and towns. Roads and river banks had been cleaned and decorated for the occasion.
The four-day long Chhath festival began Thursday when devotees took a dip in the rivers, a tradition known as ‘nahai khai’. It was followed by the ritual of ‘kharna’ Friday when sweet dishes were prepared. Much to the relief of the authorities, the festival passed off peacefully across the state.