Chhath Parva formally begins with ‘Nahay-Khay’ rituals today

MAHOTTARI: The Chhath festival fervor has gripped the Mithila region including Mahottari with the festival formally commencing from today. People’s mobility has increased in and around the region ahead of the four-day grand festival where the ‘Sun God’ is worshiped with devotion.

The devotees begin the festival from today onward by observing the ‘Nahay Khay’ rituals. They observed the ‘Araba Arabain’ in the morning today ahead of the festival which requires giving up impure food such as boiled rice, millet, lentil and meat on the third day of Kartik Shukla, the waxing moon in the month of Kartik as per the lunar calendar.

There is a tradition that the fasting starts on the third day after consuming a regular meal. But this year, the day falls today due to the merging of ‘tithis’ as per the astrological calculations.

Songs are being chanted signifying the Sun God and Chhathi Devi (Goddess) 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 in the last two years due to the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic, devotees recalled, adding now they are excited to mark the grand festival without hesitation. With the advent of the Chhath, the Mithila-based ponds and river premises having religious importance are ornately decorated.

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

Today marks the beginning of the Chhath celebrations with the devotees taking holy dip and only eating pure food items with a resolution for rigorous fasting.

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 wishing for the well-being, prosperity and progress. The rituals associated with the Chhath festival include 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 worshiping 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. RSS

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