National

Nature As God: Does Chhath Share Traces Of Indigeneity?

Elephant-shaped pots, clean river banks, and fresh fruits dedicated to nature not only capture the essence of Chhath Puja, but also reflect upon its indigenous roots. Celebrated just a few days after Diwali, Chhath has now become one of the major festivals in Northern India. The history of it, however, is still debated.While in Bihar's Munger region, it is believed to be connected with Sita's glory, in some other accounts it was started in Varanasi by Gahadavala Dynasty. Whatever the traces may be, the evocation is that nature is the only constant in Chath even amidst diverse practices and belief systems.Interestingly, this is among very few cultural festivals in Northern India that talks about nature and not focus on idolatry. A few people though think that it is the Vedic culture that has been translated in Chath where the worshipped doesn't have any shape, its connection to other indigenous festivals like Karma and Sarhul cannot be missed.Across Bihar, Jharkhand, and other parts of northern India, Chhath signifies people's ancient connection with nature. When people gather at the riverbanks to worship the Sun, it becomes a symphonic space of merging identities. The celebration of nature as the deity also evokes the sentiments of Sarna dharma that Adivasis of Jharkhand have been embracing for years.The Bihar government for the last few years has put enough efforts to promote Chhath regionally. Recently, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar personally inspected the Ganga River to examine the water flow ahead of the festivities. The four-day festival starts today and will go up to November 20.

Chhath Puja
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Elephant-shaped pots, clean river banks, and fresh fruits dedicated to nature not only capture the essence of Chhath Puja, but also reflect upon its indigenous roots. Celebrated just a few days after Diwali, Chhath has now become one of the major festivals in Northern India. The history of it, however, is still debated.

While in Bihar's Munger region, it is believed to be connected with Sita's glory, in some other accounts it was started in Varanasi by Gahadavala Dynasty. Whatever the traces may be, the evocation is that nature is the only constant in Chath even amidst diverse practices and belief systems.

Interestingly, this is among very few cultural festivals in Northern India that talks about nature and not focus on idolatry. A few people though think that it is the Vedic culture that has been translated in Chath where the worshipped doesn't have any shape, its connection to other indigenous festivals like Karma and Sarhul cannot be missed.

Across Bihar, Jharkhand, and other parts of northern India, Chhath signifies people's ancient connection with nature. When people gather at the riverbanks to worship the Sun, it becomes a symphonic space of merging identities. The celebration of nature as the deity also evokes the sentiments of Sarna dharma that Adivasis of Jharkhand have been embracing for years.

The Bihar government for the last few years has put enough efforts to promote Chhath regionally. Recently, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar personally inspected the Ganga River to examine the water flow ahead of the festivities. The four-day festival starts today and will go up to November 20.

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