Patna, Nov 13 (IANS) Hundreds of thousands of people, mainly women, marked the festival of Chhath on Tuesday across Bihar by fasting, praying, singing traditional songs and making offerings to the setting Sun.
The four-day Chhath began on Sunday after devotees took a dip in the rivers, a tradition known as ‘nahai khai’. It is followed by the ritual of ‘kharna’ on Monday when sweet dishes are prepared before fasting.
Married women observe fast for 36 hours during the festival.
Devotees traditionally offer wheat, milk, sugarcane, bananas and coconuts to the Sun God.
In many parts of the state, the festival is celebrated with religious fervour and zeal.
In Patna and other towns, all roads led to the riverbanks which were decorated and cleaned for the devotees to perform ‘arghya’ or oblations to the Sun.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his cabinet colleagues preferred to spend the day celebrating the Chhath with their families.
At the chief minister’s official residence at 1 Anne Marg here, Chhath was a low key affair. His sister and sister-in-law (the wife of his elder brother) performed the Chhath puja.
Former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, upset over elder son Tej Pratap’s planned divorce from his wife of six months, and his threat that he won’t return home unless his parents supported his decision, will not celebrate Chhath Puja this year.
Rabri Devi did not celebrate the festival in 2016 and announced that she would celebrate Chhath only after her two sons — Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav, who were ministers in the previous Grand Alliance government — get married.
In Patna, over 100 ghats or riverside bathing platforms on the banks of the Ganga have been given a last minute facelift by the administration and volunteers.
The authorities had declared more than two dozen ‘ghats’ in Patna unsafe and dangerous.
Chhath is associated with faith, purity and devotion to the Sun God.
Colourful idols of the Sun God riding his chariot with seven horses, a new attraction this year, were sold on the riverbanks.
The administration and dozens of voluntary organisations worked round-the-clock to clean the roads leading to the banks of rivers and water bodies.
The festival will conclude on Wednesday morning with devotees worshipping the rising Sun. Chhath is observed six days after Diwali.