Chhat Puja

This is hot off the presses and happening as we speak! The Sun salutation like none other.

Tooth Truth Roopa Vikesh

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That’s me, with the Lauki-Bhaat (explanation below) meal in my hands. Photo belongs to the author.

Day One, yesterday, was the Bottle-Gourd and Rice day, when pink salt and ghee season the veggie and rice with split chickpea lentil gravy.

That’s my neighbor, Pammi, in the Brazil colours. Photo belongs to the author.

My neighbor, Pammi, serves the festive food to friends and family as an offering.

The bottle-gourd and rice meal is the last meal devotees consume before 1.5 days of fasting. My neighbor, who performs the festival prayers, sneaks in some deep-fried pakoras for her guests. Like me!

Veg and fruit display. Photo by the author.

Day Two and the markets overflow with fruit and veg. The Chhat Puja is an offering to the Sun Goddess Usha, wife of the Sun God Surya. Everything the Sun couple touch ought to be offered to them and well, people try. You won’t see any avocados in that photo, though — they don’t grow here.

The wicker winnows in the foreground of the picture are used to offer the fruit and veg bounty to the Sun Goddess. Photo belongs to the author.

Usha or the Sun Goddess refers to the rays of the rising and the setting sun, when one can look directly at the sun.

Photo by the author.

A lot of sugarcane has been sold today! Sugarcane is used to construct a makeshift canopy for the offerings.

Tonight, Pammi serves us a dish like pudding and bread, kheer-roti to be exact — after which I mayn’t take any salt for the night. This is all part of a very strict Hindu plan. I am not ordinarily fussy about rituals and food restrictions for festivals, but Chhat is on a whole new level. My neighbors’s piety rubs off on me. They’ve been washing the wheat grain for the rotis (bread) they will feed me and have dried it themselves. Then they stood guard so that birds don’t get at it and bespoil their offering, the wheat grain. That kind of effort has my respect.

More festivities are scheduled and I need to join the party!

Watch this place for Chhat updates.

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Tooth Truth Roopa Vikesh

I don’t just create smiles, I inspire them! Dentist, mom—Jamshedpur, India.