Women worshipping rising Sun on the occasion of Chhat festival. (File Photo)
KATHMANDU: Today is the second day of Chhath Puja, which is called “Kharna”.
The second day of the four-day Chhat festival is being observed today.
On this day, devotees observe an arduous nirjala vrat (fasting without water) from sunrise to sunset and offer the first Arghya of Chhath to the ascending sun.
The festivity is observed as a common cultural symbol in the Tarai/Madhes.
Dedicated to the Sun God, offerings are made to rising and setting sun.
The Sun — considered as the God of energy and of the life-force — is worshiped during the Chhath festival to promote well-being, prosperity and progress.
The festival begins from Kartik Shukla Chaturthi till Kartik Shukla Saptami according to the Lunar calendar.
Devotees abstain from non-vegetarian meal during the festival.
Women folks go on a fast during the festival. Although celebrated in Mithila region with fanfare, the festival fanfare is also seen in different parts including Thapathali, Guiheshwori, Gaurighat and Ranipokhari among other places in Kathmandu Valley.
Rituals of the Chhat include taking a holy bath, fasting and worshipping the Sun God and offering prasad and argha (curd) to the rising and setting sun.
Meanwhile, in the capital, Guiheshwori Gaurighat Chhat Puja Committee’s member Anil Singh shared that on the fourth day of the festival devotees clean the place where the Sun God is worshipped and go on fasting without consuming even water on the fifth day.
Chhati Mata is also offered special delicacy named Thekuwa, fruits, sweets among others on the sixth day.
Women folks sing folklore and decorate the worshipping place on the bank of river and ponds.
The holy scriptures state that the devotees wishes are granted if they worship the Chhati Mata and the Sun God ritually during the festivity, according to former chairperson of the Nepal Calendar Fixation Committee, Prof Dr Ramchandra Gautam.
The festival also sees participation of the people from Muslim, Buddhists and Jain community, said Kamal Pokhari Chhat Samaj Chairperson Rajendra Singh who has been leading the Chhat Puja celebration in Kamalpokhari since 2068 BS.
It is said that Draupadi and the Pandavs also worshipped Sun God during their exile in the Mahabharat era.
Sage Atri’s wife Anusuya is also said to have observed Chhat Puja, according to the Surya Purana.
Anusuya was blessed with marital bliss due to the influence of her fasting in the Chhat festival.
Chhat festival will be observed in Kamalpokhari in coordination with the Kathmandu Metropolitan City while there will no celebration in Rani Pokhari this year.