Chhath has always been a big family get-together for the Lalu-Rabri family.
Every year, Chhath Puja
is a grand affair at Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Yadav's residence. His wife Rabri Devi has been celebrating the four-day festival for decades now. Even though she isn't keeping well, she is going ahead with the arduous 36-hour fast and participate in the grand festivities at their Patna home where politicians and leaders of different faith are regularly invited for celebrations.
Three-time Chief Minister of Bihar, 61-year-old Rabri Devi is diabetic and suffers from acute spine problem. But she has expressed her intent to observe the fast and also offer "arghya
" to the setting and rising Sun god as part of the Chhath rituals. The ceremonies will be performed at the makeshift pond at their 10, Circular Road, sprawling bungalow.
"The entire family is now together," a staffer told news agency IANS in reference to the festive atmosphere at their home.
She had skipped celebrations last year and announced that she would celebrate Chhath only after her two sons -- Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav, who were ministers in the previous Grand Alliance government -- get married.
According to RJD leaders, Chhath has always been a big family get-together for the Lalu-Rabri family.
"Rabri Devi's Chhath festivities are attended by politicians, irrespective of party affiliations, and people from all faiths and communities. The 'prasad' offered during the festival is also very popular," said RJD leader Chandeshwar Prasad.
The festival began today with a ritual called "Nahay Khai". Devotees, mostly married women, throng the river banks early in the morning for a bath before preparing the traditional meal.
This is followed by "kharna", when "kheer", sweetened milk-rice porridge, is cooked and distributed among neighbours, friends and relatives.
During the festival, married women observe a fast for 36 hours and devotees offer wheat, milk, sugarcane, banana and coconut to the sun.(With inputs from IANS)