Chhath festival concludes peacefully in Bihar

November 5th, 2008 - 2:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Nov 5 (IANS) Millions of people, mostly women, took a dip in rivers and ponds across Bihar and offered prayers to the rising sun early Wednesday to mark the end of the four-day long Chhath festival, which concluded peacefully.Devotees, attired in new colourful clothes, ended their 36-hour fast by offering prayers and floating lighted earthen lamps in water bodies. They sang folk songs and offered prayers to the sun god.

A rare show of harmony was on display when people cutting across social barriers gathered to celebrate Chhath in villages and towns.

“The festivity was all around as devotees thronged the banks of rivers, ponds and lakes before sunrise and sang traditional songs in groups. At the break of dawn, they offered wheat, milk, sugarcanes, bananas and coconuts to the sun as part of the ritual for divine blessings,” said Vishal Kumar, a devotee.

He said devotees had offered prayers to the setting sun Tuesday.

Much to the relief of the authorities, the festival passed off peacefully across the state.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad celebrated Chhath festival with his family here.

Lalu’s wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi fasted on the occasion. Rabri’s Chhath puja celebrations have been gala affairs every year, attracting attention ever since she became the state’s chief minister in 1997.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is said to have prayed to the sun god for the development of the state.

The festival, once limited to Bihar, is fast becoming popular across India due to the large-scale migration of workers from Bihar.

The festival was widely celebrated in metros like Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad and states like Assam, Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and even Tamil Nadu.

The four-day-long celebrations started Sunday with shopping and preparation of traditional sweets. A large number of people thronged the river banks to bathe before preparing simple vegetarian food on handmade earthen hearths.

The devotees Monday prepared sweet dishes as part of the festival, celebrated by Hindus six days after Diwali, the festival of light.

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