One of the good things which happened in Bokaro after industrialization and upcoming of SAIL is that people from all part of the nation came here for work sharing their own culture and tradition.
One such tradition of celebrating Chhat puja came from the north Bihar, now present Bihar. I still remember being a kid how we were all excited about Chatt and waited for Deepawali to get over . Some of us also saved our crackers to especially use them on Chhat.
Although Chhat never happened in my own house, but because of living in a SAIL quarter in sector 9, where neighbors became more than family, it never felt like the festival was not happening in my own house. The building had good no. of Biharis and there were almost 5 to 6 families celebrating the festival. We would be invited to go to the ghats by every one of them and each of us from our family had their own loyalty. I went with some group, my sisters with some and my mom with others. This was in the best interest of every one of us.The most famous ghat around that time was Ramdih more ponds and Ranipokhar pond near sector 8.
As a kid, we remember of playing the whole day, as it used to be a holiday for us. Since afternoon people start sweeping roads and pouring water over it as people will be walking bare foot on them. The loud music from the shops made the atmosphere more exciting. The beautiful Chatt songs reverberated the whole environment. At around 3 in the afternoon we all leave for the ghat.
A lot of people joined us in the way. People carrying the daliya lead the way and the rest followed. The ghats allocated shrine to everyone who registered so as to avoid confusion on the day. People correspondingly took their spot and started the ritual. We as a kid were busy with our crackers. As we grew up into teenage, Chhat ghats became more of a place to check out girls. There is a tradition of wearing ethnic clothes on the day and trust me the girls looked much prettier on them.
After the sunset, we left back only to enjoy more with our friends during the night. The next morning we will be getting up at around 3 to 4 am and will be leaving before the dawn. Most of the things repeated as during that at evening. Only this time, people wore more protection with boys taking blazer and mufflers and girls carrying the shawls. We all waited for the sun to come up. All the parvatis doing the ritual were standing in the cold water. The thought itself made me shiver. At around 6, the sun finally comes up. It was followed by some ritual. At the end, we too enter the water to give “ARGH”. The smell of the cracker felt nice. After distribution of the Prasad, everything was packed and we left.
The other special thing new in the morning was the hot tea served by various social groups on the way back. No one dared to miss it. Nothing can be as good as the hot tea in the cold weather .Generally people take more than one. It’s really good.
That is all with the Chhat puja. We mostly returned by 8 in the morning and what’s better than a game of cricket in the bright cold winter morning. So generally, the festival was followed by the game in the nearby ground.