Hundreds of Indian-Americans flocked to river banks, lakes and makeshift water bodies across the United States to worship the Sun God as they celebrated the popular Hindu festival of Chhath Puja.
While last year people gathered in small numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year saw a considerable number of devotees take part in the celebrations with their families and friends.
Many drove several hundred miles to reach the nearest place to celebrate the festival. In a Virginia suburb of Washington DC, more than 400 Indian-Americans turned up on the banks of the Potomac river on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning to worship the sunset and sunrise.
Chhath is mostly celebrated in India’s states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. During the festival, people fast, bathe in rivers and offer prayers to thank the Sun God for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and fulfilling wishes.
US: Chhath Puja celebrations underway at Thompson Park in New Jersey. The arrangements have been made by Bihar-Jharkhand Association of North America. pic.twitter.com/oZmw5esy48
— ANI (@ANI) November 11, 2021
“We expect this event to revive totally to reach the original strength of 800 people by next year,” said Kripa Singh, an eminent Indian-American community leader from the Greater Washington area.
The entire series of events from ‘Kharna’ to morning ‘Arghya’ was streamed live on Zoom and Facebook for people who couldn’t join in person because of the pandemic and for their families based overseas in India and Nepal.
Bihar Jharkhand Association of North America (BJANA) held its fifth consecutive Chhath Puja celebrations at Thompson Park, Monroe in New Jersey.
Besides being celebrated in Arizona, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, the festival made its debut in Connecticut this year and was attended by scores of Indian-Americans.
At most places, community members gathered at one place to cook food and ‘prasad’ for the offerings.
“Nothing brings people together like festivals do. The Indian diaspora in US, mainly from Bihar, Jharkhand and Eastern UP, at the Chhath ghat in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA,” the Bihar Foundation said in a tweet, sharing pictures of people celebrating Chhath.
In several other tweets, the foundation shared pictures and videos of Chhath celebrations across the US and in various other parts of the world.
The Bihar Foundation is a government of Bihar initiative to facilitate interaction between the state and the diaspora.