Observing Chhath and its message

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Chhath

No doubt that all our festivals have very good reasons to celebrate and message to implement, but Chhath has been more messages manifesting festival in contrary to other festivals, whose execution in everyday lives can make our lives better than ever. And also it is more spiritual, devotional festival than fun and gets together of family members and friends, in a sense that through its rituals we worship nature’s perpetual elements, such as setting sun, rising sun, water sources, and other many more natural rudiments. Actually, all the rituals and works interconnected to this festival are taken exceedingly seriously and it also requires so much effort to accomplish so, there is no space for fun, but, its spiritual bond brings peace to every individual intrinsic self. Thus, people feel proud and the pleasure to be part of it by being used in any activities of this fiesta. However, some of its significant symbolic messages which suggest us to preserve and praise nature and eradicate all types of disparities by filling gaps of age, caste, gender, race, and religion are elaborated.

Among many rituals, the second-day formal procedure, the worshipping of setting sun is quite symbolic. The setting sun is regarded as an ancestor for the sun is soon about to die and worshipping it means giving homage to elderly generation for their presence, guidance, and assistance to the young people. And also learning to take the lesson to be calm for one day everyone has to set the way the sun is going to rest. While we give our genuine gaze to other rites of any festival rituals then we won’t find any festival in which setting sun is worshipped. Only rising sun or new full moon is worshipped.

Similarly, the other emblematic ritual of this festival is to lit light, and float it in flowing river during dark dawn. This ceremony is called Deepa Daan which is considered as life, and also life is compared to it and said there must be light in the life of the people the way the light glows in darkness, and our lives must not be messed with dimness. Along with it, this ceremony also shows the importance of light in darkness and place of light as well.

Additionally, the worshiping of the river, reservoir or any water sources is also very iconic. Here, the water which is taken out of water sources during the rite of the festival is returned to the same source after keeping it during the event. Rationally, such activities hinder us to protect and preserve our resources, and don’t misuse it or harm it so that our coming generation can use it, and hand it to their offspring.

Moreover, on the final day of Chhath Puja, the rising sun is worshipped. The worshipping of rising sun is regarded as hope, opportunity, and inspiration to work and make a change in our lives. Since it is well-known that the entire festival is primarily about worshipping Sun God, and focusing on the rites of the above-mentioned ceremonies related to sun gives us the message of life, set to rise or rise to set which is the universal truth of life.

As there is no any image, the picture of the Goddess Chhathimata, it itself is representative of faith and belief to people. But these days some community is giving the face of female human to statues which are newly being constructed because it is called Chhathi Maiya’s puja.

Since the ambiance of the festival becomes extraordinarily amicable and accommodating because everyone is treated equally at the time of the ceremony. At the festival, everyone assists financially and physically each other, no gender, caste, race, religion is given higher priority, all people come together and bind each other with the sense of equality and fraternity. For instance, people from Muslim community, women, and men, people of different castes all celebrate the festival at the same place without any feeling of superior and inferior. This festival is connecting diverse people by eradicating all kind of discriminations which are logically hazards in social, financial, political upliftment of the nation.

Consequently, this festival’s devotee and devotion towards this, is spreading like kerosene in water. I mean to say that the festival might have started in the plain land of our nation, but now people in hills also are celebrating this festival with the same accent and faith. So, the most modernized and westernized cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara also are not far away from the influence of the festival; people living in these cities also observe this festival.

As I have stated above the symbolic messages and how the festival has been fastening us in same rope like garland made from different flowers. The festival looks like an eminent thread to be in solidarity. Nevertheless, the practicality of the messages of the festival remains no more than the days of Chhath celebration. And now it seems an intricate issue to just rejoice Chhath or execute its messages in daily life like respecting elderly people, preserving natural resources, cooperating each other at the time of need, treating everyone equal and so forth.

In my opinion, if this festival is bringing us closer for a few days, then if we can take a lesson from the festival and implement the messages in our day to day lives. It can really make major changes in our lives. Hence, it promotes unity and harmony in our society, we must implement the messages of Chhath because everyone may not be able to observe Chhath by being on fasting for two days but everyone can be a good devotee of Chhathimaiya by employing the messages of Chhath in the real sense to create oneness.

Anamika Mishra