Mahottari, Nov 17: The fervor of the Chhath festival has swept across the Mithila region as devotees prepare for the four-day grand celebration dedicated to the worship of the ‘Sun God.’ The festivities kick off today with the ritual of ‘Nahay Khay,’ marking the beginning of the revered festival.
Devotees follow the ‘Araba Arabain’ method, abstaining from impure foods like boiled rice, millet, lentils, and meat on the third day of Kartik Shukla. Traditionally, fasting begins on this day after consuming a regular meal. Songs praising the Sun God and Chhathi Devi (Goddess) resonate in the Mithila region.
As Chhath unfolds, ponds and riverbanks with religious significance in Mithila are adorned like brides. Although both men and women can observe fasting during Chhath, it is predominantly women who are seen partaking in the rituals and worship of the Sun God.
On the inaugural day of Chhath, known as ‘Nahay Khay,’ devotees take a purifying dip and consume only pure food items, making a solemn commitment to rigorous fasting. The festival has enlivened marketplaces and public areas, with devotees actively preparing for the upcoming Chhath celebrations.
Chhath, a common cultural symbol of Tarai/Madhes, is dedicated to the Sun God, with offerings made during the sunrise and sunset. It spans four days, from Kartik Shukla Chaturthi to Kartik Shukla Saptami, following the lunar calendar, and will conclude on the ensuing Monday with the rising sun.
The Chhath ritual involves a series of practices, including holy baths, fasting, extended worship of the Sun, and offering prasad and argha (curd) to the ‘Rising and Setting Sun.’ Devotees uphold purity during the festival, sleeping on the floor with a single blanket, symbolizing a period of abstinence and segregation from the main household.
Chhath is revered as a festival of bathing and worship, symbolizing the cycle of birth starting with death, and is considered the most glorious form of Sun worship.