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Chhath

Chhath 2010 is when?

Chhath is a festival that is chiefly celebrated in the Indian state of Bihar. Though there are many festivals that are celebrated by the Hindus of Bihar, this festival is uniquely Bihari. It is a festival of worship of the Sun God and therefore, is also known as ‘SuryaShashti’. Chhath is considered to be a means to thank the Sun God. The festival of Chhath is marked by 4 day long celebrations and rituals. It begins on the sixth day of the Hindu month of ‘Kartik’ in the Hindu lunar calendar, which corresponds to late October and mid November.

During this festival, large groups of people, including married women throng the banks of rivers including the Ganga, Punpun, Gandak and Kosi as well as other water bodies to have bath before preparing vegetarian food. This holy ritual is popularly called as 'Nahai-khai' that marks the beginning of the Chhath festival. The offerings of deep fried and sweet rolls of stone ground wheat flour, grapefruit, whole coconuts, bananas, and grains of lentils are used. Even onions and garlic are considered unwanted during the entire festival period, and only earthen vessels are used during this period to preserve all possible purity of food.

In the days running up to the Chhath festival, the administration along with dozens of voluntary organizations work incredibly hard to clean the residential localities and roads leading up to the banks of rivers and water bodies. For each of the four days of the festivities, the devotees along with the family and friends return home where colorful celebrations take place. Clay elephants containing earthen lamps, and containers full of the offerings, are placed. There the fire god is worshipped at nightfall.

Amisha Patel
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