Hundreds of American Indians worshiped the Sun God on Sunday night and Monday night in various locations across the country, from the Potomac River in a suburb of this city and across from Query Lake in Fremont, to a makeshift pond in Connecticut and Donaldson Park in New Jersey.
From the consul general to top corporate leaders, everyone took part in the Chhath celebrations
In New Jersey, India’s Consul General in New York, Randhir Singh Jaiswal, and his wife, Dr. Abha Jaiswal, joined “Morning Arag” or worship of the rising sun in Donaldson Park, Highland, along with nearly a thousand American Indians from New York and New Jersey area.
Organized by the Bihar and Jharkhand Association of North America and the Bihar Foundation, one of the largest Chhath celebrations in the US was attended by families of top corporate leaders.
In his brief remarks, Jaiswal highlighted the importance of the diaspora community in celebrating Indian festivals thousands of miles away from the country of origin.
Pushpa Mishra from New Jersey celebrated Chhath with friends and family. For the first time “Vrati” or faster, she celebrated the festival with her husband, Nirmal Mishra, director of Centroid Systems.
Among those joining the celebrations in New Jersey were Manish Varma, Global Vice President of GlaxoSmithKline, Amit Choudhry, Chief Operating Officer of Wipro, Vikas Varma, Chief Medical Officer of Johnson & Johnson.
“All the families came together to prepare Chhath Prasad and celebrate the puja at the ghaat, very well organized by BAJANA and its tireless executive committee and volunteers,” said Alok Kumar, Chairman of the Bihar Foundation.
All about the celebrations
Braving the biting cold, large numbers of American Indians gathered on the banks of the Potomac River, in a Virginia suburb of Washington DC, to participate in what is now considered one of the oldest Chhath celebrations in the country.
It was a community effort led by software engineer Kripa Shankar Singh, who along with his wife Manisha started the celebrations in a small way in 2006. At the same bank, the annual celebrations now attract several hundred people not only from those who trace their origin. to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where Chhath is celebrated, but also from neighboring Nepal.
To keep the participants warm in the early hours of Monday, community leaders lit a fire and served hot samosa and tea. “It is a source of pride the way the community has come together to celebrate the sacred Chhath festival,” said Sunil Singh, an eminent American Indian from Virginia.
In Connecticut, Chhath was performed in a makeshift pool, as celebrants wowed the audience with traditional “Chhath songs” in the indoor auditorium. Devotees were seen carrying the offerings in baskets wrapped in yellow cloth on their heads.
More than 1,000 American Indians joined the Chhath celebrations at Quarry Lake, Fremont, California. Participants arrived dressed in colorful Indian dress, including sari, while the organizers played traditional Chhath songs. “I felt like I was in India,” said Reena Gupta.
(With PTI Inputs)