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Chhath PujaChhath Puja also called Dala Puja is a Hindu festival popular in the Northern and Eastern Indian states of Bihar and Jharkhand and even Nepal. The word 'Chhath' has its origin in 'sixth' as it is celebrated on the 6th day or 'Shasthi' of the lunar fortnight of Kartik (October - November) in the Hindu calendar - six days after Diwali, the festival of lights.

Chhath can well be regarded as the state festival of Bihar, where it goes on for four days. Outside of India, Chhath is mainly among celebrated by the Bhojpuri and Maithili speaking community apart from the Nepalese Hindus. It assumes a joyous and colorful form as people dress up in their best clothes and gather by rivers and other water bodies to celebrate Chhath.

Many devotees take a holy dip at dawn before preparing the ritual offerings or 'prasad,' which mainly comprising 'Thekua,' a hard and crude but tasty wheat-based cake usually cooked on traditional earthen ovens called 'chulhas.' The divine offerings are placed on circular trays woven out of bamboo strips called 'dala' or 'soop.' Women adorn new clothes, light lamps and sing devotional folk songs in honor of 'Chhat Maiya' or the holy river Ganga.

After sunset, devotees return home to celebrate 'Kosi' when earthen lamps or 'diyas' are lit in the courtyard of the house and kept beneath a bower of sugarcane sticks. Serious devotees maintain a strict anhydrous fast of three days. Read Full Article

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