Categories
Latest News USA

Indian-Americans celebrate Chhath Puja across US amid Covid

Washington, DCIndian-Americans, mainly from Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh, celebrated the Hindu religious festival, Chhath Puja by worshiping the Sun God at various places in the US.

The community members gathered in small numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic at various water bodies across the country, from the banks of the historic Potomac river to a lake in New Jersey to makeshift pools in houses.

Hundreds of Indian-American devotees watched the celebrations, including the worship of the sunset on Friday and sunrise on Saturday, live on Zoom and other social media platforms.

“The presence was limited to 25 people with family members maintaining social distancing. Additional people who visited the venue to watch the Chhath Puja were watching the procession from a distance at the bank of Potomac river to obey the state mandate on social gathering during this pandemic,” said Kripa Singh, an attendee.

Singh, a software engineer, along with his wife Anita, have been celebrating Chhath Puja on the banks of the Potomac river, in the Virginia suburb of Washington DC since 2006.

“The whole series of events from Kharna to Morning Arghya was live telecast on Zoom and Facebook live for people who couldn’t join in person because of the pandemic and also for their families located overseas in India and Nepal. People from Nepal like Mohan Yadav, Dharmendra Thakur and Vijay Singh helped coordinate the live telecast,” Singh said.

Bihar Jharkhand Association of North America (BJANA) celebrated its fourth consecutive Chhath Puja at Thompson Park, Monroe in New Jersey, which among others was attended by Consul General of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal and Deputy Consul General Shatrughna Sinha.

Jaiswal said that it is great to see the love and affection for the motherland.

“We have always been celebrating Chhath in Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern UP since childhood with so much devotion and reverence. Once in America, we all missed our home, especially more so during Chhath,” said Avinash Gupta, president of BJANA.

“We are overwhelmed with the community’s response in the tristate area with hundreds attending. It unites the community and brings us closer and keeps us connected to our roots. It gave us the feeling of home away from home,” he said.

“Chhath has medical and religious significance. Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research on how cells recycle and renew their content which is very much connected to Chhath Mahaparv,” said Alok Kumar, one of the attendees.

Noting that Chhath is a very important part of the Indian culture, Vinita Kumar, who was involved in the drive-through prasad distribution, said that even during the time of a pandemic, the organizers found a way to celebrate this religious event by practicing social distancing.

Chhath Puja was also celebrated in Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas.

Read More

RELATED POSTS