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Situated at the confluence of Northern India and Eastern India, influenced by the major religions and owing to the multiple regional culture presence, Patna has a long list of festivals throughout the year. The city celebrates each major festival of India in a grand way, be it Diwali, typical to North India or Dusshera, typical to Bengal or Holi of Mathura. However the biggest of all festival is Chhath, which bring a feeling of purity, devotion and worship in the city during its 4 day long duration. Beside it, the other big worshiping like Ramnavami, Jitiya, Teej and Somwari are of great value to the majority population. Eid, Bakrid and Muharram are celebrated with great joy and pomp throughout the city, especially in the old city, called Patna city. Christmas, Buddha Jayanti, Mahavir Jayanti and Guru Nanak Jayanti are celebrated with great affection in the city.
Chhath : Chhath is called "Aastha ka Mahaparv" meaning Biggest festival of Devotion in the region. This festival is dedicated to the worship of Sun God, called "Lord Surya" in the Hindu Mythology, who sustains life on the Earth. It is one of the rigorous festival which stretches for four days and most strict form of worshiping is undertaken, which includes holy bathing, fasting and offering prayers to the Sun god by standing in the water(river) during sunset and sunrise. Chhath is celebrated twice a year- one during March-April called Chaitra Chhath and other during October-November called Kartik Chhath. The latter has great importance because of the Kartik month.
On the first day of festival, called 'Nahay-Khaye' the devotees takes bath in river and bring the water home for preparing the offerings.The devotees eat only once during the day. The second day is called 'Kharna', in which devotees keep fast throughout the day. In evening, after sunset, devotees do worship after which they eat Puri-Kheer and after that it is distributed to the family members and others. Day three is called 'Sanjhiya Arghya' (offering at sunset). The devotees prepares offering during the day. By evening, all the family members accompany the devotee to the river bank or pond. Whole society gathers there and it reflect an awesome view at the bank. The devotees take bath in the river and stand in the water to worship the Sun god at Sunset. After the worship, the devotees spend the night at the bank only. Proper arrangements are made for the night stay and during night the whole community remains awake. On the fourth day, called 'Paaran', the devotees offer prayers to the rising Sun, again standing in water. The festivals ends with devotees breaking their fast at the bank. The Prasads are distributed among the family and relatives Chhath is a great festival which brings the entire society, barring the castes on the river bank together. Patna is blessed with the river Ganges flowing by. The ghats are decorated beautifully, roads are cleaned and during offering , it gives an awesome view, with the ghats full of people and devotees doing offering from the water, while Sun sets or arises. The fear of this festival is such that the criminal activity during 4 these days drops to almost zero - such is power of this festival.
Dusshera (Durga Puja) : This festival is celebrated with great devotion during the month of September-October. It stretches for 10 days. This festival is dedicated to Goddess Durga. The nine day of festival is devoted to each of the nine form of Goddess Durga. For the first six days, the Goddess is covered and from seventh day onward the cover is removed and people starts flocking to worship. The tenth days is the last day when the Goddess is immersed in the river.
Patna is famous for this festival. Beautiful idols of Goddess Durga in huge pandals are placed all over the city. On the Eighth and Ninth day during night, almost all people are on street, resembling a wave of human beings, making quiet difficult even to have a look at the idols. On the tenth day, in Gandhi Maidan, huge statues of Ram, Laxman and Ravan is erected, and the Ravan is burnt. Its a must seeing event, however the rush can become too much to handle.
Diwali : This festival of light, dedicated to the Goddess Laxmi, who is the goddess of Wealth, is celebrated in the month of October-November. The day just before the actual Diwali is known as Choti Diwali (Small Diwali). On the day of Diwali, the whole city is decorated with beautiful lights and Diyas are burnt in the house. Each house is cleaned thoroughly. Massive fire crackers are put for cracking, so much so that it becomes difficult to hear the voices and sky becomes dusty with smokes.
Ramnavami : It is another important festival in Patna. The people celebrate this festival by observing fasts and observing prayers in the honor of Lord Rama. This auspicious day is observed to mark the birth of Lord Rama. All the temples see huge rush of devotees on this day.
Holi : This festival of color is celebrated during March in memory of Prahlada, a devotee of Lord Vishnu. The people put color on each other during the day. By evening, the colored powders, called 'Abir' take place of wet colors. The people visit each other houses and takes the blessings of the seniors.
Eid : Eid is big festival for the Muslim community which falls at the end of the holy month of Ramzan, during August-September. This joyous day is celebrated to give thanks for the blessings of Ramzan. Muslims attend the congregational Eid prayer service which is held in the morning. They wear new clothing, cook delicious foods and invites friends and neighbors to celebrate with them. The whole of Patna city area is beautifully decorated and there is good environment in the markets.
Christmas :This festival is celebrated by the Christian community on the 25th December every year to commemorate the birth of Lord Jesus. The famous church of Patna - Padri ki Haveli and Christ Church are beautiful decorated on the occasion. People exchange gifts, decorate the Christmas trees, attend the church and go for meal together. People from other religion also participate in the festival.
The other festivals which are celebrated in the city are :
- Makar Sankranti
- Maha Shivratri
- Saraswati Puja
- Raksha Bandhan
- Chitra Gupta Puja
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