*Poster put up by Jharkhand Information and Public Relation Department across the state capital on the occasion of the four-day long Chhath Festival on October 28, 2022

As the four-day Chhath festival began on Friday (October 28), all roads leading to the water bodies where devotees pray to both the setting and rising Sun in Ranchi and adjoining areas are decked up with posters, each showing Chief Minister Hemant Soren smiling with both palms bowing, offering greetings-Namaste.

This has attracted the attention of movers, walkers, and talkers. The posters were designed and sponsored by the state Information and Public Relations Department on the eve of the Chhath Puja.

The placement of each of these posters was such that all devotees and their relatives can watch the CM Soren while walking to water bodies to offer prayer to the Sun God on Sunday evening and Monday morning.

In any case, most organisers of the Chhath pandals miss no opportunity to gain publicity. Soren who is the Shiv Bhakt appears to have beaten his rivals of the BJP who miss no opportunity to indulge in self-publicity during religious festivals in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and parts of Odisha, and Nepal.

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These places were soaked in festivities but similar scenes are also seen wherever Purvanchalis live, be it Delhi or Mumbai.

Social media is also abuzz with colourful snapshots from Arizona, Raleigh, Portland, Melbourne, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and other places where the Purvanchali diaspora has begun celebrations.

However, whether Chhath devotees themselves watch the CM Soren or not, all of them are set to chant mantras while offering arghyas to the sun. 

Everybody knows politics and religion have got mixed in many parts of the country due to politicians’ prime aim to mobilise votes, the CM Soren’s standpoint looked as if it was more to express gratitude. 

In any case, right now devotees are busy getting ready to pray to both the setting and rising Sun. 

The festival shows that sunrise and sunset both are important. Without this cycle, our survival is not possible. In that sense, Chhath is more of a cultural and spiritual festival rather than a purely religious one. 

However, one can take the help of priests to preside over Chhath rituals; they’re not banned.

But mostly, devotees themselves worship Chhath the Sun God, his wife Usha or Chhathi Maiya, nature, water, and wind.

In essence, it is the worship of elements in nature that spreads the message of conservation. Cleaning of water bodies for the puja is a significant environment-friendly activity. It is also believed that the human body can safely absorb positive solar energy during sunrise and sunset. Science says the rays during sunrise and sunset have the least ultraviolet radiation.

Purity is of utmost importance. Devotees need to take the holy bath and follow a period of abstinence or self-restraint. They sleep on the floor for four days of the festival.” Hemant Sorenji understands all this”, said a staff of the Information and Public Relations Department who had designed the CM’s poster for the Chhath festival in Ranchi.

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