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regular-article-logo Sunday, 16 June 2024

USA: Hundreds of Indian Americans celebrate Chhath at several places in the country

One of the largest Chhath celebrations in the US saw the participation of families of top corporate leaders

PTI Washington Published 01.11.22, 12:32 PM
Hindu devotees offer prayers to the sun during Chhath Puja festivities, in Boston, USA.

Hindu devotees offer prayers to the sun during Chhath Puja festivities, in Boston, USA. PTI image

Hundreds of Indian Americans worshipped the Sun God on Sunday evening and Monday night at several places in the country, ranging from the Potomac river in a suburb of this city and Query Lake front in Fremont, to a makeshift pond in Connecticut and Donaldson Park in New Jersey.

In New Jersey, India's Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal and his spouse Dr Abha Jaiswal joined the "Morning Arag" or the worship of the rising sun at Donaldson Park, Highland, along with nearly a thousand Indian Americans from the New York and New Jersey area.

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Organised by the Bihar and Jharkhand Association of North America and Bihar Foundation, one of the largest Chhath celebrations in the US saw the participation of families of top corporate leaders.

In his brief remarks, Jaiswal highlighted the significance of the diaspora community in celebrating Indian festivals thousands of miles away from the country of their origin.

Pushpa Mishra from New Jersey celebrated Chhath with friends and family. A first time "Vrati" or faster, she celebrated the festival with her spouse, Nirmal Mishra, a Director at Centroid Systems.

Among those who joined the celebrations in New Jersey were Manish Varma, Global VP at GlaxoSmithKline, Amit Choudhry, COO of Wipro, Vikas Varma, Dr Director at Johnson & Johnson.

"All families came together to prepare Chhath Prasad and celebrate the puja at the ghaat, extremely well organised by BAJANA and their never tiring executive committee and their volunteers," said Alok Kumar, chairman Bihar Foundation.

Braving the biting cold, a large number of Indian American gathered on the banks of the Potomac River, in a Virginia suburb of Washington DC, to participate in what is now considered as 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. On 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 neighbouring Nepal as well.

To keep the participants warm in the wee hours of Monday, community leaders lit a bonfire and served hot Samosa and tea. "It's matter of pride that the manner in which the community has come together to celebrate the sacred Chhath festival," said Sunil Singh, an eminent Indian American from Virginia.

In Connecticut, Chhath was performed in a makeshift pool, as celebrants enthralled the audience with the traditional "Chhath songs" at the indoor auditorium there. Devotees were seen carrying the offerings in baskets wrapped in yellow cloth over their heads.

More than a 1,000 Indian Americans joined the Chhath celebrations in Quarry Lake, Fremont California. Participants came dressed in colourful Indian dresses, including saree, even as organisers played traditional Chhath songs. "Just felt like being in India," said Reena Gupta.

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