Delhi has one of the biggest populations of migrants from Bihar, so it’s no wonder that Chhatt Puja, a four-day-long festival dedicated to the worship of the Sun God, is celebrated across the city in a big way. And youngsters in the city partake in these celebrations enthusiastically.
Not many get to celebrate the festival with their families in Bihar, but still they try to get involved in traditional ceremonies as much as possible.
For JNU student Nandini Jha, a Patna native, these four days mean chhutti even if the colleges in Delhi don’t shut. “It is one of the biggest festivals back home. Since my family is in Bihar, I ensure that I go to some relative’s home to attend the Puja celebrations.” However, Jha does miss some of the traditions that are impossible to follow in Delhi. “At my native place, we make kheer in earthen pots on fire made of mango tree wood. Here, it’s not possible to get all this. So the taste is obviously different. But who really cares as long as you get to celebrate.”
The yummy delicacies are indeed a special part of Chhat Puja. The offerings of prasad like thekua (made of wheat and jaggery) and rice laddoos are especially popular.
“I love rasiya (a rice pudding made by using jaggery). It is served on the second day in the evening. My family does the Puja in the temple nearby where they dig up a small hole and fill it with water,” says Ansh Sinha, a class 12 student from Patparganj.
Animesh Kumar, who hails from Gaya in Bihar, goes to the banks of the Yamuna when it’s prayer time. “I went on the second day in the evening with friends, and it was just like the celebrations back home. My mother will courier thekua for me.”