Chhath and the Migrant: In Frames




Bihar Migrant Workers Celebrate Chhath Puja Across India

Bihar migrant worker Bholanath Kumar, residing in a densely populated colony in east Delhi, continues to observe the Chhath Puja festival with his family, a tradition they have upheld since their migration to Delhi. Initially concluding the celebration with a dip in the polluted Yamuna, the community later received improved arrangements, such as artificial ponds, from migrant associations in the neighborhood.

Significant Presence of Bihar Migrant Workers

According to government data from the 2011 census, there are around 15 lakh migrant workers from Bihar and Jharkhand dispersed throughout the country. These migrants are committed to showcasing the cultural identity of Bihar during the Chhath Puja, expressing their gratitude to nature regardless of their location, be it Delhi or London. The actual number of migrants is believed to exceed current estimates, based on Amrita Datta’s research on migration patterns from Bihar.

Chhath Puja Celebrations Around India

In various parts of India, migrants from Bihar come together to celebrate Chhath Puja, offering prayers to the sun and making offerings at sunset and sunrise. Devotees perform rituals without the involvement of priests or mantras, exemplifying the festival’s connection with nature and transcendence beyond religious, caste, and gender barriers. From executing the rituals at the Sanjay Lake in New Delhi to the Marina Beach in Chennai, the festival is celebrated with reverence and devotion.

As the Chhath Puja continues to unite the culture of Bihar and expand its influence across different regions in India, the migrant community’s dedication to preserving their traditions and expressing gratitude to nature remains unwavering, enhancing the spirit and significance of this ancient festival.

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