French woman performs Chhath in Bihar for Belgian husband

November 6th, 2008 - 1:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Bodh GayaPatna, Nov 6 (IANS) A French woman performed Chhath puja, a Hindu festival in which prayers are offered to the sun god, in Bihar’s Bodh Gaya town for the long life of her Belgian husband.Axlle, a French woman in her late 20s, offered prayers to the rising sun early Wednesday on the bank of Niranjana river at Bodh Gaya, about 110 km from here.

Her husband Vianney, a resident of Belgium, joined her to offer prayers along with his two friends from Belgium near the river in Bodh Gaya, which is considered the birthplace of Buddhism. It was here that Buddha attained enlightenment over 2,550 years ago.

Clad in a bright violet sari and with vermillion in the parting of her hair, carrying the traditional bamboo tray known as `soop’, Axlle followed the prayer rituals strictly.

“I was impressed by the spiritual concept behind offering prayers to the sun god and decided to perform Chhath, a new experience for me and my husband,” said Axlle, a nurse.

She said that she offered prayers to the setting and the rising Sun god for the long life of her husband. “It was all I wish and seek blessing of the sun god,” she said.

“My husband was happy that I offered prayers to the sun god for his long life,” she added.

Axlle and Vianney were visiting Bodh Gaya during their trip to India.

The family members of Shankar Yadav, a local resident, helped her and provided fruits, home-made sweets and milk for the rituals.

Yadav’s family members said that a few years ago, a woman from Denmark offered prayers to the sun god in Bodh Gaya to mark Chhath.

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 this year 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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