In Bihar from today, the 8 days of celebration will start with the festival of Diwali. Followed by Godhan, and then Chhat. The most loveable period of the year is just this. Let’s read some interesting writing about the up coming festival.
Day 1 – Diwali
A Diwali morning in Bihar begins with preparations for the Lakshmi Puja in the evening. Women make rangolis on the entrances and in front of temples in their houses, in order to make the house look beautiful and welcoming. In preparation for the evening, many people lay out firecrackers under the sun, to dry them out incase they are moist and cause a problem during the evening fireworks. New clothes are bought in advance for Diwali and on the evening of the festival, everyone dresses in their newest and best attires.
Lakshmi is worshipped and extensive prayer rituals are performed on the evening of Diwali, bhajan and aarti are sung to honor the Goddess of wealth, prosperity, health and success. After the Puja, ghee or oil diyas are lit from the first diya lit during the prayers and then put all around and outside the house. Prashad (holy offerings), mostly Kheel and Batashas are distributed to relatives and visitors after the puja.
Prayers and offering to Lakshmi are made on the banks of the Ganges as well. Thousands of people gather at the bank of the holy Ganga, flowing through the state of Bihar. After the prayers, people light diyas and let them float into the river, creating a mesmerizing view of water illuminating the river.
Day 2 & 3 – Godha and Govardhan Puja
On the day after Diwali, Bihar observes Govardhan Puja. On the day after Govardhan Puja, Bhai Dooj is celebrated. Sisters put red tika on the foreheads of their brothers and pray for their good health and success and brothers in turn present their sisters with gifts. The fifth day after Diwali is also celebrated as Godhan, a festival for farmers. Cattle and crops are worshipped on this day.
Day 4 – Shopping Day of Chhat
A Day in between the festival is solely given for doing shoping of different goods and prasads of the biggest festival of Bihar, Chhat.
Day 5 – Naha-Kha of Chhat
The first day of the Chhath Puja includes taking a dip in the holy river Ganges. People also take the water of Ganges to their home to perform special offerings and rituals. Houses are thoroughly cleaned on this day.
Day 6 – Kharna
On the second day of Chhath Puja, the day before Chhath, the Vratins observe a fast for the whole day, which ends in the evening a little after sunset. Just after the worship of Sun and moon, the offerings of Kheer (rice delicacy), puris (deep-fried puffs of wheat flour) and bananas, are distributed among family and friends. The Vratins go on a fast without water for 36 hours after 2nd day evening prashad (kheer).
Day 7- Sandhya (Pahla) Arrg of Chhat
This day is spent preparing the prasad (offerings)at home. On the eve of this day, the entire household accompanies the Vratins to a riverbank, pond or a common large water body to make the offerings (Arghya) to the setting sun. It is during this phase of Chhath Puja that the devotees offer prayers to the just setting sun. The occasion is almost a carnival. Besides the Vratins, there are friends and family, and numerous participants and onlookers, all willing to help and receive the blessings of the worshipper. The folk songs sung on the evening of Chhath.
Day 8 – Usha (Dushra) Arrg of Chhat
On the final day of Chhath Puja, the devotees, along with family and friends, go to the riverbank before sunrise, in order to make the offerings (Arghya) to the rising sun. The festival ends with the breaking of the fast by the Vratins. Friends, Relatives visit the houses of the devotees to receive the prashad.