Dropping temperatures and a foreign feeling, these situations do not stop Indian-Americans from celebrating Chhath Puja.
On the third day — Sandhya Arghya (evening offerings) take place on the Potomac River after preparing the prasad and worshipping the Sun god and Chhathi maiyya. They offer the evening offerings amid folk songs. Then comes the fourth and the last day of the festival — Usha Arghya — here the devotees go to the holy waters a little before sunrise and offer prayers and morning offerings to the sun, following which they break their fast.
During this period, devotees live frugally; they sleep on the floor on a single blanket. The main festival is commemorated on the third day of Chhath.
Prakash says that “despite the temperature being below two degrees, the devotees still continue to take a dip in such low temperatures. People pray with utmost dedication and nothing changes here. We continue to hold our traditions to date.”
Earlier, people in the States used to make the most out of pujas in a makeshift plastic tub full of water. But, times have changed and the year 2016 bears testimony to the same when on the very same Potomac river, 6000 people celebrated Chhath as reported by PTI.
However, what is notable is how the Indian diaspora spreads the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the country with equal grandeur. Owing to the large Indian diaspora in the USA, it has been seen that not just Chhath but other festivals are too celebrated with love. Indian communities organise craft stalls, singing and dancing competitions, Bollywood dances, and more activities.