Patna, Nov.3 : Chhat, the thanksgiving festival dedicated to the Sun God for bestowing the bounties of life in earth and fulfilling everyone's wishes, started here today with Kharna ritual.
The festival is significant for married women in specific, as they observe a two-day fast and offer prayers standing waist-deep in water and offer fruits and flowers to Surya, the Sun God.
Several married women here today observed dawn to dusk fast marking 'Kharna' for the long life of husband and son and mark the fist day of the three-day Chhat Puja.
The occasion is celebrated specifically by people of Bihar and also by those living in particular parts of the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh State. Chhat Puja acts as a unifying force both socially and culturally.
In Patna, large number of devotees thronged market to make last minute purchase for the Chhat Puja in Patna.
Local residents here say that Chhat Puja holds great significance, as it is said to be Biharis' main festival and thus celebrated with full gaiety.
"Chhat is our main festival. Today is Kharna, the festival of 'Kheer' and 'Puri' (which signifies the beginning of Chhat puja). We have returned after taking bath in the Ganga river. We have come to buy fruits. The Puja holds great importance in our lives and we celebrate it with great devotion," said Bimla Sinha, one resident woman.
"We buy banana, apple, lemon, coconut and gorgan nut to mark the puja. Chatth has a great importance in Bihar and it is being celebrated as per the traditions," said Kamlawati, another woman.
People bathe at Ghats, the riverbanks, and pay obeisance to both the rising and the setting sun during the festival. It is celebrated on the sixth and seventh days after Diwali, the festival of lights.
Dancing on the tunes of the devotional songs, people offer fruits and flowers to please the Sun God. By Ajay Kumar