Saturday, October 24, 2009

Biharis in city to celebrate Chhath today

For people of Bihar, Chhath puja (worship of Sun god) is a bigger festival than even Diwali or Durga Puja. No matter where they live, they make it a point to celebrate the puja, though most aspire to return to their hometown for the purpose.

Chhath puja takes place exactly on the seventh day after Diwali. The festival is dedicated to the Sun god, and the celebrations include gathering at the banks of river Ganga and bathing in the sacred water, besides performing several other rituals. The highly elaborate festival is also known for melodious music and songs.

In Ahmedabad, the Biharis will gather under the Indira bridge on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning for the rituals. "We celebrate Chhath puja exactly in the way people do it in Bihar, except the fact that there is no Ganga here," says Shubhamshankar Jha, a Bihari residing in Ahmedabad for more than a decade.

"There are about 25,000 Biharis staying in Ahmedabad. Of that, almost 60% leave for Bihar for the Chhath puja, mainly because that is the only time of the year when all the members of a family get together," says Dr Devshankar Sharma, president of Janki Sewa Samiti, an association of Biharis in Ahmedabad.

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