KATHMANDU: President Bidya Devi Bhandari participated in the 9th Chhath Puja Assembly in the capital today. Organized in Kamal Pokhari by the Kamal Pokhari Chhath Puja Society it was a display of marvel and grandeur with decorations and faces gleaming with happiness.
(President Bidya Devi Bhandari conducting the Puja)
The people celebrated the day worshipping the sun as part of the ritual, and there were large crowds gathered celebrating the festival.
The Chhath festival is celebrated for four days worshipping the Sun as part of the Vedic Hindu tradition.
(Devotees worshipping the Sun an integral part of the Chhath festival ritual)
It is celebrated mainly in the Terai region of Nepal, but due to migration it has amalgamated well and is celebrated throughout the country. Prayers are mainly offered to the rising sun, and the people observing this undergo a series of fasts and other rituals that have various offerings. It is also said that this is the most environment-friendly festival.
(Devotees with baskets of offerings containing fruits and incense)
The offerings and food served in this festival are traditional Madhesi dishes, Thekua made out of wheat flour, melted sugar, clarified butter and jaggery, rice and milk pudding called Kheer, several fruits, banana, sweet lime, sugarcane, apples, and Rice grit or also called Laddu. The people observe a rigorous practice of vegetarian-only food without the use of garlic, onions, or salt.
The Vedic ritual of Chhath is the only such festival in Hinduism dedicated to the Sun, which is worshipped as God, and it has its mention in the ancient mythologies of Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
(Photo Credit: Mukunda Kalikote for Reporters Nepal)