Braving sub-zero temperature, hundreds of Indian-Americans – mainly those tracing their roots from Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh – celebrated Chhath Puja in the US on Wednesday. In the Maryland suburb of Capital Washington DC, Chhath Puja was held on the banks of the historic Potomac River, which was attended by some 400 people while a large number of them gathered on a lakeside at Monroe Township’s Thompson Park in New Jersey. It was a picturesque scene at both the places, as onlookers compared the ceremony site to their memories of India’s Chhath Puja.
Chhath entails worship of the Sun God and is observed mainly by people from Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh. “This year it was the largest ever gathering for Chhath Puja,” said prominent Indian-American Kripa Singh from Virginia, who along with his wife Anita started celebrating Chhath Puja in traditional way about a decade ago on the banks of the Potomac river.
India’s Deputy Ambassador to the US, Santosh Jha, who comes from Bihar also attended the Chhath Puja on Wednesday. Over the years, it has evolved as a community event.
Similarly, hundreds of families having Bihari-Jharkhand origin gathered to support the ladies performing the ceremony in New Jersey. People from as far as Vancouver and Michigan attended the Chhath Puja in New Jersey, according to a press release issued by the Bihar and Jharkhand Association of North America. “It reminds me of attending Chhath in Patna,” said Deputy Consul General New York, Shatrughan Sinha.