Chhath rituals begin with ‘nahay-khaye’, festive fervor takes hold of the city

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The festival based on the worship of the sun god, Chhath, will begin on Monday with devotees performing the ritual of nahay-khaye.

The city is teeming with activity as devotees are prepared to perform rituals to begin the fast required for the revered festival. This may be the one time of the year when people, forgetting the differences in caste, color and creed, stand by and pay homage to the Sun.

Makeshift markets have sprung up in different localities of Jugsalai, Bisutpur, Sakchi to sell fruits and other products like baskets and Rs soonp ‘, used by Chhath devotees to pay homage to Sungod. different NGOs have started to clean up their respective localities. “This is the only festival that people voluntarily go out to clean up the city for although, ironically, most of them throw their garbage right outside their homes throughout the year,” Mohan Prasad said. Different puja committees erect welcoming arches in many places in the city. They also began to make lighting arrangements along the roads leading to the ghats. Purity is strictly observed during the festival. In addition, onion and garlic are not used in many households, especially those whose members are fasting for Chhath, during the four days. The four-day Chhath festival, in the continuity of a tradition dating back to posterity, carrying on the living tradition of India of worshiping the divine creator and nurturer – the solar god

Legend has it that Draupadi, the wife of the Panch Pandavas, executed Chhath during her exile from Hastinapur. No less than 14 shlokas were dedicated to Usha – or Chhathi Maiya – in the first of the Vedas, the Rig Veda. Usha has sometimes been mentioned as the Beloved of the Sun and other times as the Woman of the Sun, hence the name Chhathi Maiya.

Chhath is celebrated twice a year, once in May-July called Chaiti Chhath and once in October-November called Kartik Chhath. In the four-day festival, the first day begins with the ritual bath. On the first day, Rs arwa ‘chawal, kaddu (gourd), the price of which climbs to Rs 100 per kg during Chhath, and bajka is cooked during the day. On the second day, called Kharna or Lohanda, the Rs parvaitin ‘(the fasting person offering Rs arghya’) fast without a drop of water or a piece of food entering his mouth. She begins, with the help of the women of the house, to cook enormous quantities of Rs prasad ‘, mainly Rs kheer’ (rice cooked in jaggery without milk) and puris, on chulhas of mud.

The Rs was then fasted, without food or water, for the next 36 hours. The third day begins with the woman on an empty stomach cooking Rs thekuas ‘and decorating Rs knitted jute soops with coconuts, diyas, soaked gram, apples, Rs kasar’ (made from powdered rice, black sesame and jaggery seeds), Rs thekuas ‘, dried fruit, besides large sticks of sugar cane and whole stalks loaded with ripe bananas to offer as Rs arghya’ to “Atachalgami Surya.

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