People of the Tarai region have started entering into their hometowns from different cities and towns ahead of the four-day grand Chhath festival where the ‘Sun God’ is worshipped with devotion.

The devotees begin the festival from today onward with ‘Nahay Khay’. They have adopted the ‘Araba Arabain’ method on Sunday by giving up impure food such as boiled rice, millet, lintel and flesh on the third day of Kartik Shukla.

There is a tradition with which fasting starts on the third day after consuming a regular meal. Songs are being chanted signifying the Sun God and Chhathi Devi (Goddess) now in the Mithila region.

Devotees commented that they are free to celebrate the Chhath festival this time with the declines in the cases of coronavirus.

The celebrations were muted last year due to the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic, devotees recalled, adding now they are euphoric to mark the grand festive celebration without hesitation.

With the advent of the Chhath, the Mithila-based ponds and river premises having religious importance are decorated as brides.

Though there is a traditional belief that devotees, irrespective of gender, can observe fasting in the Chhath, mostly women are fasting and worshiping the Sun God.

On the fourth day today that marks the beginning of the Chhath celebrations, devotees take their holy dip and only eat pure food items with a resolution for rigorous fasting called ‘Nahay Khay’.

The festival has increased the mobility of the people in markets and public areas. Devotees are seen busy managing materials for Chhath celebrations across the Mithila region. The Chhath festival is being observed as a common cultural symbol of Tarai/Madhes.

The festive fanfare has been seen in different parts including Ranipokhari, Gaurighat, Kupondole of Kathmandu Valley as well.

The festival is dedicated to the Sun God, with offerings made to the rising and setting Sun. It is observed for four days, from Kartik Shukala Chaturthi to Kartik Shukla Saptami as per the lunar calendar. It usually falls between October and November in the Gregorian calendar.

The Sun considered as the God of energy and of the life-force, is worshiped during the Chhath festival to promote well-being, prosperity and progress.

The ritual of Chhath festival includes taking holy bath, fasting and worshiping the Sun for a long time and offering prasad and argha (curd) to the ‘Rising and Setting Sun’. Chhath is a festival of bathing and worshipping that follows a period of abstinence and segregation of the worshiper from the main household for four days. During this period, the worshiper observes purity, and sleeps on the floor on a single blanket.

The devotees offer their prayers to the setting sun, and then the rising sun in celebrating its glory as the cycle of birth starts with death. It is seen as the most glorious form of Sun worship.

(With inputs from RSS)