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Chhath begins in Terai, preparation underway in Kathmandu



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By Our Correspondents

Bara/Lahan, Nov 1: The festival of Chhath, one of the important festivals among the Terai people which is dedicated to Sun god, kicked off from Thursday.
The devotees observe the Chhath festival for four days, during which they eat only “pure” vegetarian foods, and worship the setting sun on the main day of Chhath. The first day of the festival is called ‘Nahaye-Khaye’ which is also known as ‘Araba-Arabain’.
The second day is called ‘Kharana’ which is also called as ‘reduction of sins’. On the third day, the devotees offer worship to the setting sun which is called Sanjhiyanargha and on the fourth day the offering is made to the rising Sun in the morning.
On the occasion, the devotees offer vegetables and fruits, including radish, carrot, citrus fruits, orange, banana, apple, water Singada, sugarcane, beans and other items to Chhath Mata (the Chhath deity). The devotees offer delicacies such as thekuwa, bhusawa, khajuri, perukiya and other items such as nanglo, koniya, saraba and dhakan.
After the offering, the fast-observers take the Prasad or food that has been offered to the gods, and break their fast. The act of breaking the fast is known as ‘Paran’.
People believe that worshipping the Sun god will help get offspring, cure skin diseases and bring happiness and prosperity.
According to a myth, human civilisation was developed on the river banks and the sun and water are the most important elements that endure life on earth.
The festival is celebrated by the people belonging to all castes and groups. The festival is also taken as a manifestation of agricultural culture in the eastern Terai.
The festival which was once the culture of Terai dwellers only has now become famous among the people of the valley and hilly areas, including Muslim community and other community. It is also considered a religious occasion to express gratitude to nature.
The festival is celebrated from Shukla Chaturthi to Saptami in the month of Kartik, as per the Nepali calendar.
With the arrival of Chhath, the market places across the Terai have witnessed the crowd people willing to buy banana, coconut and other items required for the festival.
The devotees present offerings and worship the statue of Chhath Mata on the banks of the rivers and ponds and light oil-fed lamps.
For celebrating the Chhath, river banks, riversides, and ponds have been decorated in village and urban areas investing huge amounts.
Meanwhile, in Kathmandu preparation for Chhath has begun at the several points of the Bagmati River bank like Guhehowri and Thapathali and at Kalimati on the bank of the Bishnumati River.