The Chhath festival has taken hold of the Mithila region, including Mahottari, as the grand celebration officially kicks off today.
The region is abuzz with increased activity as people prepare for the four-day festival dedicated to worshiping the ‘Sun God’ with deep devotion.
Devotees are initiating the festival today by observing the ‘Nahay Khay’ rituals.
This morning, they participated in the ‘Araba Arabain’ ritual ahead of the festival, which involves abstaining from impure foods like boiled rice, millet, lentils, and meat on the third day of Kartik Shukla, the waxing moon in the month of Kattik, according to the lunar calendar.
Traditionally, fasting begins on the third day after a regular meal. However, this year, due to astrological calculations, the fasting day falls on the festival’s commencement day.
Songs echoing the praise of the Sun God and Chhathi Devi (Goddess) resonate throughout the Mithila region.
Devotees express their joy in celebrating the Chhath festival this time without the concerns of the past two years when celebrations were subdued due to the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the onset of Chhath, ponds, and riverbanks of religious significance in Mithila are adorned with decorations.
While there is a traditional belief that devotees of any gender can observe fasting during Chhath, it is predominantly women who are seen fasting and worshiping the Sun God.
Today marks the commencement of Chhath celebrations, with devotees taking a holy dip and committing to rigorous fasting while consuming only pure food items.
The festival, spanning four days from Kartik Shukala Chaturthi to Kartik Shukla Saptami in the lunar calendar, typically falls between October and November in the Gregorian calendar.
Chhath, dedicated to the Sun God, involves offerings made during the rising and setting of the Sun, symbolizing wishes for well-being, prosperity, and progress.
Rituals associated with Chhath include holy baths, prolonged fasting, worshiping the Sun, and offering ‘prasad’ and ‘argha’ (curd) to the Sun.
Chhath is a festival of purification, worship, and bathing, with devotees observing a period of abstinence and segregation from the main household for four days. During this time, purity is maintained, and the worshipper sleeps on the floor with a single blanket.
Prayers are offered to the setting sun, followed by the rising sun, celebrating the cycle of birth starting with death—a representation of the most glorious form of Sun worship.