Bihar jail officials make special arrangements for Chhath prayers

October 23rd, 2009 - 12:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Oct 23 (IANS) Over 100 prisoners, many of them women, have been performing Chhath puja inside jails across Bihar by fasting and praying to the sun god.
The popular four-day Chhath festival — symbolising purity — climaxes six days after Diwali. It began Thursday when devotees across the state bathed in a ritual called Nahai Khai. As per tradition, offerings of wheat, milk, sugarcane, bananas and coconuts were made to the sun god.

Jail authorities have made special arrangements for inmates performing Chhath.

Thirty eight prisoners in Patna’s Beur jail, including 29 women, were given new clothes, a part of the ceremony. Other material needed for the ritual — mango wood, hand-made earthen stoves, fruits, rice, sugar and coconuts — have also been provided.

“We have made full arrangements for inmates performing Chhath inside jail. A pond inside the jail was cleaned so that they can offer their prayers to the setting and rising sun Saturday evening and Sunday morning to mark the end of Chhath,” Beur jail superintendent Omprakash Gupta told IANS.

He added that during the four-day festival, prisoners could also receive the puja material from their relatives.

Dozens of prisoners including women have been performing Chhath puja in Bhagalpur, Gaya, Buxar, Nawada, Aurangabad and Muzaffarpur jails too, according to reports reaching here.

A Gaya jail official said some devotees were fasting for 36 hours as part of the ritual. Married women fast during Chhath.

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