JANAKPURDHAM: Worshipping the setting-sun, Chhath festival was celebrated by Maithili-speaking people in the eastern Tarai districts with much fervour today.

The festival was celebrated with fanfare here in Janakpur — the capital city of Mithilanchal — and many other Tarai districts. Thousands of people thronged ponds and riverbanks like Gangasagar, Ratnasagar, Maharajasagar, Aragajasar, Goradhoia Pokhari, Dhanushsagar

and Agnikunda and offered argha to

the Sun god.

Even the Pahade people, who were displaced due to the ongoing violence, attended the Chhath festival. Sakuntala Thapa, a resident of Janakpur Municipality-3, who is currently living in Kathmandu, said she came to Janakpur to celebrate the festival.

They, however, said they were yet to feel free from fear of the wanton violence. The worshippers said that ordinary people had tough time managing the Puja goods due to the spiralled prices of the worshipping materials.

There is a widespread belief that worshipping of the setting sun provides with abundance wealth, happiness, children and it would also free from skin related diseases to the worshippers.

Parameshwor Kapadi, professor of Maithili language, said worshipping to the goddess Shasthi would fulfill the wishes of people. Saying that the sun is "the god of all gods", Kapadi said that even the Muslims participated in the Chhath festival.

"This festival is religiously and culturally important as people regardless of their caste and financial status gather in the same water sources for puja," he added. He claimed that the festival had a great role in strengthening social harmony. In the festival, the farmers offer bananas, sugarcane, garlic, peas, among other agricultural products and other cooked items to the sun.

Fekan Sah, who has been in fasting during the Chhath festival from the past six decades, said that showing up the agriculture items to the sun would increase the wealth. The festival concludes after the devotees worship the rising sun on Sunday.