Kathmandu, Nov 2: The Chhath festival observed as a common cultural symbol of Tarai/Madhes is beginning today. The festive fanfare has been seen in different parts including Ranipokhari, Gaurighat, Kupondole of Kathmandu Valley as well. The festival is dedicated to the Sun God, with offerings made to the rising and setting Sun. It is observed for four days, from Kartik Shukala Chaturthi to Kartik Shukla Saptami as per the lunar calendar. It usually falls between October and November in the Gregorian calendar. 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 ritual of Chhath festival includes taking holy bath, fasting and worshiping the Sun for a long time and offering prasad and argha (curd) to the ‘Rising and Setting Sun'. Chhath is a festival of bathing and worshipping that follows a period of abstinence and segregation of the worshiper from the main household for four days. During this period, the worshiper observes purity, and sleeps on the floor on a single blanket. This is the only holy festival which has no involvement of any pandit (priest). The devotees offer their prayers to the setting sun, and then the rising sun in celebrating its glory as the cycle of birth starts with death. It is seen as the most glorious form of Sun worship.