Chhath is the most important festival of Bihar
and eastern Uttar Pradesh
. It is dedicated to Surya
, the Sun God and is also known as Suryashashthi. The festival is celebrated on the sixth day of Kartik (a month in the North Indian Hindu calendar
), i.e. October-November. The festival is observed for four days.
On the first day, the devotees take a holy dip in the nearest river, preferably in the Ganges. On the second day, they fast till late evening and prepare offering for the Sun God. The offering is usually rice porridge. On the third day, devotees gather at the banks of rivers and worship the setting Sun. After going back home, they light earthen lamps. On the fourth day, devotees again gather at the banks of rivers and worship the rising Sun. This ritual is followed by a grand feast. In Bihar, people wear new clothes. There's a family gathering at every home where folk songs are sung by the womenfolk. Chhath is the main festival at Dakshinaarka Sun Temple, Sun Temple at Nalanda and Swarajpur Baragon Sun Temple.