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Chhath : Kharana today Last Updated : 18 Nov 2012 12:02:27 PM IST File photo: Chhath puja
One of the most respected festivals for the people of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh, Chatha puja is being celebrated with lots of zeal and enthusiasm.
The formal beginning of Chhath festival takes place with 'Kharna' falling on Sunday. 'Kharna' symbolizes cooking of kheer for distribution among relatives and neighbours.
The four day Chhath festival, one of the most popular and biggest in Bihar and parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, began on Saturday .
Lakhs of people worshipped the setting sun at the banks of rivers on the second day. The Puja will end after offerings of prayer to the rising Sun on Tuesday.
Chhath, celebrated six days after Diwali, is dedicated to the sun god. During the festival, married women observe fast for 36 hours and devotees offer wheat, milk, sugar cane, bananas and coconuts to the sun.
The banks of rivers like the Ganges, Punpun, Gandak and Kosi as well as big and small water bodies are crowded as devotees are busy preparing vegetarian food on handmade earthen 'chulhas'.
On the first day of Chhath Puja, the devotees take a dip, preferably in the holy river Ganges, and carry home the holy water of the river Ganges to prepare the offerings. The devotees take only one meal a day on this day.
It is a festival associated with faith, purity and devotion to the Sun god.
On the third day, people congregated at river banks, rivulets and other water bodies, go inside knee deep water and pay arghya to the setting Sun. They return to the same spots on the next day and pray to the Sun god, marking the end of the 4-day festival.
During the third day of Chhath puja, devotees fast without drinking water and prepair puja offerings - thekua, coconut, banana and seasonal fruits in bamboo trays.
This is followed by 'kosi', which is celebrated in the courtyard of the house after evening offerings.
Earthen lamps flickered beneath five sugarcane sticks or 24 sticks, as per local custom, with pujas held seeking blessings for the family.
According to the tradition, an ancient king got cured of leprosy after he adhered to the advice given by his doctor to observe fast and offer arghya to the setting and rising Sun standing in knee-deep around this period of time, marking the beginning of the festival.
Highly respected in Bihar-UP, chhath is also celebrated by people of states living in metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Banglore and others too.
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