All hail the Sun


Chhat, considered one of the most important festivals of the people of Terai, has also become a major part of Kathmandu Valley celebrations in the last few years. Residents of Terai, who have settled here for various reasons, have been celebrating this festival gathering at the ba-nks of the Bagmati river to worship the setting and the rising sun. Thousands of people had gathered in previous years to pay their respects to the sun. Thousands are expected on November 7 to offer worship the sun.

As a preparation for the day, sanctity, purity and cleanliness are strictly maintained and devotees begin taking a holy bath and eating selected food from three days earlier.

On the main day that falls on the sixth day after no moon in the month of Kartik, devotees fast for the entire day. In the evening and the next morning, they take a dip in the holy river and make offerings of fruits, coconut and other prasad prepared especially to offer to the setting and rising sun.

The worshippers, especially women, come with their offerings of flowers, fruits and other things to the banks of the river dressed in their best clothes for the puja.

Women perform the puja for the well being of their entire family.

It is believed that all types of skin diseases are cured or prevented if the puja is observed in the prescribed manner. Those who do not fast also gather at the riverbanks share in the celebrations and get prasad from others.

Folk songs are also sung in the honour of Surya Dev — the Sun God, and Chhati Maiyya — the Twilight Mother.