The four-day Chhath Puja celebrations have begun in Bihar and elsewhere in the country with the traditional Nahay Khay ceremony.
Devotees in Muzaffarpur gathered on the banks of rivers in the state. In Bihar, the authorities have made elaborate arrangements at various Sun temples.
This year, the festival is being celebrated amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and many devotees said that they prayed to Chhathi Maiyya to keep everyone safe from the virus.
“I am keeping fast without water for four days. We will pray to Chhathi Maiyya to keep everyone safe from COVID-19,” says Rinku Devi, a devotee, after taking a dip in the river.
Chhath Puja will conclude on Saturday morning after paying obeisance to the rising Sun.
Chhath Puja is celebrated on the sixth day of the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar which also happens to be the fourth day after Diwali.
As per Hindu tradition, devotees worship the Sun god and his wife Usha to express gratitude and seek their blessings.
Day one of the festival is called Nahay Khay, which begins with devotees taking the holy dip in the Ganga.
On the next day, devotees observe a full-day fast which is completed in the evening after praying to the sun and the moon during sunset.
The third day is called ‘pehla argha’ or ‘saandhya argha’. The devotees and their families go to the river bank and offer prasad to the Sun during sunset and pray for happiness and prosperity.
On the fourth and last day, which is the also is known as ‘doosra argha’, devotees offer their prayers to the Sun on the river banks before sunrise and conclude their fast and eat special prasad and delicacies made for the festival.
The Delhi government has declared November 20 as a public holiday on account of Chhath Puja.
“Chhath Puja is an important festival for the people of NCT of Delhi. Accordingly, the Government of NCT of Delhi has decided to declare November 20, 2020, as a public holiday on account of ‘Chhat Pooja,” said Delhi government in order.
The Mumbai civic body has put restrictions on mass celebration of Chhath Puja at beaches, river banks and other natural water bodies in the city in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and asked devotees to avoid crowding.
The annual festival dedicated to the Sun god will be celebrated on Friday and Saturday by people who originally hail from north India and are residing in the metropolis.
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