Here is a report by Indraneel Sen which throws light on Chhath Puja Celebrations in Delhi.
---Dr. Pankaj Sharma
Chhath is an ancient Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Surya.This festival is uniquely popular in Bihar and Jharkhand. It is celebrated as gratitude to the sun for providing the necessities of life on earth and also for fulfilling particular wishes. Celebrations were in full swing here at Delhi. A big number of people celebrated this festival with pomp and zeal. The banks of the Yamuna were the centre of attraction. Devotees flocked in large numbers for offering evening and the morning pujas. Keeping aside age differences, all the participants of this festival were at their full peak of enjoyment.
This four-day festival commences with the worshipper cooking traditional vegetarian food and offering it to the sun god. This day is called Naha- Kha (literally Bathe and eat).The worshipper goes through one meal on this day. On the second day, a special ritual, called Kharna, is performed in the evening after Sun sets down. On this day also, the worshiper takes only one meal from the offerings (Prasad) cooked to the Sun God. Friends and relatives are invited to the household on this day to share the Prasad of the ritual. From this day onwards, for the next 36 hours, the worshiper goes on a fast without water. The third day is spent preparing the Prasad at home. In the evening the devotees go to a river’s bank or pond where the Prasad is offered to the setting sun. On the final day of this festival all the devotees go to a river for offering Prasad to the rising sun. After that the devotees break their fast and Prasad is shared with all the people around.
(Report and Photographs by-Indraneel Sen, New Delhi)