The Bihar Jharkhand Association of North America (BJANA) held its first Chhatth festival in New Jersey last week. More than 300 members of the organization and their family members from the Tri-State area came together at the lakeside of Thompson Park in Monroe Township to offer their prayers to the rising and setting sun.
Chhath is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival historically native to the Mithila region of Nepal and the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. The Chhath Puja is dedicated to the Sun and his wife Usha to thank them for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and to grant certain wishes. Volunteers got together in advance to make prasad for the members attending the Puja. The women kept a fast and despite the cold, devotees stepped into the water to offer the ‘Arag’ to the Sun God.
Keeping the Chhatth festival in New Jersey was a dream come true for everyone as they were already attending it elsewhere for decades, the organizers said in a press release. The organizers said they planned to continue the tradition annually from here on.