Pinellas Park, FL, USA: Amidst pandemic COVID-19, Chhath festival was celebrated by a number of Patna’ites and others from Indian Diaspora locally here in Florida (USA).

The people’s faith in the worship of lord Sun and Chhathi Maiya is deeply rooted in people who understand its glories and believes. This is the only Hindu festival which is dedicated to Lord Surya (Sun) which is a unique source of natural power.

Historically, it is trusted that Chhath was first performed by Karna who ruled the Anga Desh (now under the state of Bihar in India). King Karna is considered an offspring of Lord Surya and Kunti. Others legend suggests that in ancient time, Draupadi and
Pandavas of Hastinapur used to rejoicing the faith in order to solve their issues and regain their lost kingdom. This is one of the few Hindu revels where there is no idolatry involved. Shashti Mata and the Sun God Surya, along with his consorts Usha and
Pratyusha, the Vedic Goddesses of Dawn and Dusk respectively is worshiped.

Here also people gather together on this occasion to worship “Sun” and “Chhathi Maiya”.

This year’s rituals started on November 18, 2020 with “Nahai-khai”. The second day better known as “Kharna/Lohanda” was observed with usual zeal and enthusiasm on November 19. On that day, the Vrati, after a daylong fast, offered Kheer, Roti/Puri (bread)
along with banana to the Mother Nature after the sunset. The blessed food also help break their fast marking the conclusion of the second day of puja. This offering was also accepted by other devotees as prasad.

Third day’s Pooja was observed on November 20, 2020 by offering Sanjhiya Arghya to the settling Sun. That includes various seasonal fruits and local new harvest along with famous traditional sweet “Thekua”, made out of wheat flour, jaggery and gee.

Arghya was offered by the Vraties after taking holy bath and standing inside the water. The festivity continued through the night with folk music and devotional and traditional songs on “Chhath” by devotees until the “Bihaniya Arghya”.

This Arghya was performed on November 21 in the similar manner with that of Sanjhiya Arghya. The festivity concluded with “Paran” in which the Vrati break their fast with delicious mouthwatering Indian traditional food with participating families and friends.