Former Chief Minister and wife of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi, has decided not to celebrate the festival of ‘Chhath’ this year, she announced on Monday.
With her decision against celebrating the most popular annual Hindu festival of Bihar, people will miss a rare festivity at her sprawling official bungalow — 10, Circular Road — in the high security zone of Patna.
Rabri Devi said she will celebrate Chhath only after her two sons — Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejaswi Yadav — get married.
“I will not celebrate Chhath this year … now I will celebrate Chhath after the marriage of my two sons,” she told media persons here.
Rabri Devi’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav is Bihar Health Minister and younger son Tejaswi is Deputy Chief Minister.
Tejaswi Yadav, 26, cricketer-turned-politician, has received 44,000 marriage proposals on a WhatsApp contact number, which he had circulated for receiving complaints over bad roads, officials said.
The four-day Chhath festival will start later this week with ‘nahai-khai’ ritual. Devotees, mostly married women, will throng river banks early in the morning for a ritualistic bath, before preparing the traditional meal of boiled rice and pumpkin.
RJD leaders said Rabri Devi’s Chhath celebration is popular as politicians, irrespective of party affiliations, and people from all faiths and communities visit for her traditional ‘prasad’ during the festival.
“Till last year, Rabri Devi, helped by Lalu himself, used to draw a large number of people during Chhath, but this year they will miss it,” an RJD leader said.
This will be followed by ‘Kharna’, when ‘Kheer’ will be cooked and distributed among neighbours, friends and relatives.
During the festival, married women observe a fast for 36 hours and devotees offer wheat preparations, milk, sugarcane, bananas and coconuts to the Sun god.
Incidentally, Chhath is the only festival across India in which devotees offer salutations to both setting and rising sun.