People of Hindi speaking community celebrated the ‘Chhath’ festival in Odisha by offering a second ‘argha’ to the rising sun on Thursday morning.
Chhath is generally celebrated in Bihar and Purvanchal (east) Uttar Pradesh where people pray to the Sun God. However, the people of Bihar or Purvanchal regions residing across the State celebrated the three-day festival amid strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocols imposed by the State Government.
Earlier the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) had issued notifications banning the congregation of devotees at river banks and ghats and other water bodies to take holy baths and perform Chhath puja as a precautionary measure to restrict the spread of Coronavirus.
As directed by the civic authorities, people in the Twin Cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack observed the puja at their homes with their families and relatives.
In Rourkela too, people from Bihar and UP performed the puja at the terraces of their homes.
“We have been observing the Chhath Puja fast for years. My mother-in-law used to do it and now the tradition has been passed to me. We are offering the puja at home as performing argha at river ghats and other water bodies have been prohibited in view of the ongoing pandemic,” said a devotee in Rourkela.
“On the first day which is called 'Nahai Khai'. People who observe the fast eat rice and bottle guard sabzi on that day with their family members. The next day is ‘Kharna’ on which we prepare jaggery kheer and puri and distributed among family members and relatives. On the third day, we offer argha to the setting sun and on the last day, argha is offered to the rising sun,” said another devotee in the steel city.
On the other hand, people from Bihar and UP thronged the banks of Budhabalanga River to offer 'Usha Argha' (prayers to the rising sun) today morning. The devotees had also offered argha to the setting sun yesterday evening.
“We are from Bihar and settled in Balasore. This festival is dedicated to the Sun God and we pray for the well-being of our children and family member,” said a devotee at Balighat in Balasore Town.
The Chhath festival began on November 8 with the 'Nahai Khai' ritual and concluded today on November 11 with devotees performing 'Usha Arghya'.