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If there is one festival during which every Bihari wants to be home, it is Chhath. It touches an emotional chord with Bihari populace and is more than just a festival like Diwali, Holi and Durga Puja. Chhath Puja is a festival when the entire family gets together in celebration and none wants to miss. Almost exclusive to Bihar (including Jharkhand), the four-day festival of Chhath is dedicated to the Sun God and his two consorts, Usha and Pratyusha.
In Bihar, the festival dedicated to Sun and Chhathi Maiya (Mother Shashti or Usha) is celebrated with rigorous and strict manners of preparation. The Sun is worshipped as the prime source of energy that sustains all lives on the Earth.
Usha and Pratyusha are the two wives that are considered as the energy of the Sun god Himself. Therefore, the first offering, evening arghya is offered to Pratyusha, the last ray of the Sun God; and the morning arghya is offered to Usha, the first ray of the Sun.
Both of the great epics of India, Ramayana and Mahabharata, have references of the festival being celebrated by Sita (after Lord Ram’s return to Ayodhya), and by Draupadi. It has Vedic roots as Goddess Usha is one of the Goddesses mentioned in the Vedas and there are several mantras dedicated to her.
As soon as Diwali is over, Bihar gets into Chhath mode. Every nook and corner of the state is serenaded by the Chhathi Maiya songs sung, almost every single time, by Bihar’s own daughter Padma Shri Sharda Sinha. From ‘Uga ho Suruj dev’ to ‘Marbau re sugaba dhanush se’, all the songs, if not memorised, have a subconscious connect with the Biharis.
The four days of Chhath Puja
Day one: Nahay-Khaay (literally, bathe and eat)
As the name suggests, this day the process of purification for the Vratin (the lady who does the vrat, or fasts for the festival) starts with her taking a bath and eating seasonal vegetables along with rice and dal. The dal is made of gram (or chickpea), and the vegetable is of Lauki (or Kaddu as it is called in Bihar) along with chana saag (a delicacy made of leaves of chickpeas). This food that the Vratin consumes is a prasad which the whole family eats later. Vratin’s food doesn’t have any salt in it.
This day (or the next day, as convenient) the Vratin, with help of others in the family, washes the wheat that will be used to prepare various offerings to the Sun god. The wheat is washed with utmost care and spread to dry. The kids are given the duty to see no dirty thing falls into it. They have to make sure the birds don’t eat (or poop on it while flying over!).
Day two: Kharna
In the evening, after the cooking is done, the Vratin, in closed doors does the rituals where she offers naiwedya to various deities as well as gram and kul devta. The naiwedya is prepaired from chapatis, Tasmai and bananas and spread over a banana leaf.
The Vratin would offer prayers inside as the house goes silent for a few minutes because any sound might break her concentration while praying and breaking her fast. She eats the food that was prepared by her.
When she is done eating, she will deliberately leave some food in the plate which is considered to be pious and is eaten by the family members as prasad. In fact, kids fight to eat them as it is akin to purest form of blessing one could ever get.
As she opens the door, someone would bring out the naiwedya from inside and all family eats it. Later, the food prepared by the Vratin, Tasmai and Puri, is served as supper to the family.
Day three: Saandhya arghya (the evening offering)
On the third day the Vratin starts her fast again which would last till the next morning. It is roughly 36 hours from her last meal, again without a drop of water the whole day.
The male members carry the baskets over their head from the home to ghats. The whole path is cleaned and watered and purified to maintain the sacredness of the whole process. The baskets are laid open at the ghats where the Vratin will take a dip, pray to the last rays of the Sun and Pratyusha.
Then she will take every basket in her hand with a diya (earthen lamp), and face the Sun as the family as well as community members will offer arghya by pouring water and milk in front of the basket facing the Sun god.
When this process is done the Vratin again takes a dip and comes out to perform some rituals at the ghat. This would include prayers, laying of flowers, burning dhoop (finely chopped sandalwood) and incense sticks. Meanwhile, the male members would carry the baskets back home and keep it inside the house where no one can touch or accidentally hit by legs etc.
Day four: Usha arghya (the morning offering)
As she enters the home everyone will take her blessing by touching her feet. As pious as she is, in those moments of extreme control over all the senses and organs, it is considered that whatever she says is a word from the Mother Usha or Chhathi Maiya Herself.
Apart from the prasad from the basket, the main food as breakfast (or say, brunch) is kaddu-bhat (vegetable of Lauki and steamed rice).
Significance of the offerings in basket
One can find that every family has different numbers of baskets for the arghya. Some have one, some two, some ten or even more than that. The number depends on the number of baskets that have been pledged to be offered to Chhathi Maiya by anyone in the house or, even community.
For example, if I am suffering from a disease from a long time, my grandmother would pledge a basket as an offering for a number of years (or forever) to Chhathi Maiya. The same can be done by a concerned aunt or even a grandmother from other house who cares for you.
Not only this, but in an excellent show of village harmony and love, my grandmother might pledge to offer a basket to Chhathi Maiya for the village chief who, for example has met with an accident. The usual prayer would be, “Chhathi Maiya, if this son of mine gets up from bed healthy, I will offer you a basket of fruits every year till he lives.”
Kasht Lena (to suffer)
This process is a regular sight in two days of arghya, the evening and morning. You would find people, usually males, with a nail, small knife or any metal laying down and getting up facing the sun.
What they do is this: They would start from their house with facing the sun and doing a namaste with folded hands, then they would lie down and measure that distance with their body-length.
This process is very difficult. The one who does this has either pledged to do this himself or her mother, grandmother or any other person pledged it for his well being. This is called ‘kasht lena’ which literally means, to suffer.
This is pledged in extreme circumstances like when there is no hope for being alive or someone has met with a bad accident. It is done in desperate times when only the Gods would come to the rescue.
Even the ladies have their version of taking the ‘kasht’. They would stand in the cold waters with folded hands towards the Sun for as long as the whole process of arghya is finished. This means they would be the first ones in the waters and last ones to get out of it. The water is very cold as Chhath Puja takes place, usually in November.
Belief is what binds us all. Chhath is that moment of belief. Chhath Puja is that moment when the family gets together and enjoys each other’s company. The Vratin is treated with utmost respect and there is a race among kids to take her blessings by massaging her head, feet or body as it aches from rigorous procedures and preparations.
It is a way to say thanks to the only visible God on earth who powers everything. It is a way to express our gratitude to the Sun, the absence of Whose rays, our whole system would collapse. Sun is the source of energy in the planet as well as cured of various deficiencies and diseases. With Chhath Puja we say thanks to Him and his two Consorts, Usha and Pratyusha.
Divorce is a hard fact in someone's life because it can affect all aspects of life like social, economic, and living status. Conditions become tougher if you have children. Recovering from divorce is also a painful process but good thing is that it is possible to get through it and place better in terms of both finances and emotions. The impact of divorce on finances can be life-lasting but taking precautions and thorough investigations of options can help a lot not only to save unnecessary costs but also some other hidden areas where you weren't aware. Following are some tips to save money during a divorce.
1.Avoid advice from everyone
People like your friends, family members, colleagues, neighbors, etc. will start giving unsolicited advice during the divorce process when you discuss it with them. They will share their own experiences and horror stories and advice on how to handle financial issues during the divorce process. Get advice only from those you trust. In this regard, attorneys or financial experts are the best options to save money during the divorce process.
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2.Consider your spouse
It can be challenging for someone who has started the divorce process to think about the soon-to-be ex-spouse's best interests and financial wellbeing. While making decisions about assets and finances, considering not only your interests but also your spouse's interests can help you to reduce divorce process time. You can save your own and your spouse's money if you spend less time in such negotiations because times spend with the attorney will also be shortened.
3.Goodbye to the joint bank account
You should close all joint bank accounts which were in use of you and your spouse especially credit base account. Block major and supplementary credit and debit cards. Your spouse can use it and you can suffer heavy financial loss. Closing of all joint accounts should be the first step to cut down financial loss during divorce proceedings.
4.Open a new checking account
In continuation of the previous point, open your new checking account. This will help you in terms of not only building up of financial history but also your credit record. Credit history will be helpful if you apply for a loan or any other credit facility. This financial history will let you control your money during the divorce process. If your bank account is not a joint account but you own it, then make sure that your spouse was not using supplementary debit or credit cards. If the spouse was using then block it immediately.
Divorce can include many additional and sometimes hidden costs along with routine costs. This can bring more stress and worries to your life. Saving money can help you to fight such financial status. Force savings every month in this regard can help a lot. You can do this by opening a savings account and setting up a debit order from your checking account.
Recovering from divorce is also a painful process but good thing is that it is possible to get through it and place better in terms of both finances and emotions.Getty pictures
6.Keeping track record of the expense
You may not be interested in maintaining a record sheet of your expenses during your married life. If so, then you should start now. Analyze your bank statement critically because expenses can be out of control now. Review your daily cost of things and make critical decisions to cut down unnecessary costs.
7.Chalk out budget
Ideally, a proper budget should be chalked out to control expenses and save money during the divorce process. Select important segments/areas of your lifestyle and allocate a budget to each of them. After allocation of budget, stick to it strictly every month. This can be problematic in the beginning but become easy when you become used to it. By doing this, you will also be able to manage your savings account by allocating money.
8.Own health insurance
Medical emergencies and different health issues can be sudden or without any notice. So, it is necessary to have a health insurance plan in order to not only pay bills of medicines and lab tests but also an unexpected expensive hospital stay. If your health insurance has previously been covering your spouse then it is advisable to set up your own health insurance plan. This can help you to save money.
9.Amendments in your will and beneficiaries
If you have already decided about your will beneficiaries then it is the right time to update it. Now your divorce is under process, so, the content of your will and beneficiaries should also be significantly changed. This is much needed because it is possible that now you have children and who you like to allocate your property and saving especially if the children were not present when you drew up the will.
10.Change power of attorney
Many people assign power of attorney to their spouses during the marriage. Now it is essential to update and end the power of attorney and signing authority given to the spouse. This will help you in terms of legal and financial matters.
11.Apply for online divorce
Advancement in technology has made it easy for everyone to save time and money. Now in the United States, it is easy to apply for a divorce online. You can save time and attorney fees by downloading all the required divorce documents online. You should not worry about which document and how downloaded because many local court websites can give detailed information about how to file divorce online and which documents are needed.
12.Make use of the mediator
It is extremely helpful to use the mediator to decide terms and conditions between you and your spouse. Although an attorney is needed in certain matters of divorce use of a mediator will help you in saving attorney fee
Many spouses are very conscious about expensive assets and luxuries that are going to be distributed among spouses after the divorce. So, they make decisions to splurge on these luxuries. It is advisable not to splurge as the cost of divorce proves may be past your expectation.
14.Do it yourself (DIY) divorce
Many people are unable to afford the cost of attorney and mediator, so, they now try to handle things by themselves as much as possible. The rate of divorce and its cost is increasing day by day. This factor making "do it yourself (DIY) divorce" popular. DIY spouses are using information given by some attorneys who are offering free consultation on their first meeting.
Disclaimer: ( The article is sponsored and hence promotes some commercial links)
Gone are those days when people, sports enthusiasts, and governments lined up to host the Olympics. Hosting the Olympics, once seemed to be an immensely prideful event, but it has now transformed into an economic burden. Host cities grapple with a plethora of problems which mainly include construction delays, cost overruns, security issues, and environmental concerns.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has more or less aggravated the problems. The Winter Olympic Games are scheduled for 2022 in Bejing, China. Furthermore, Paris and Los Angeles have been recently nominated as the hosts for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics Games respectively. Both cities have held the Games on two occasions previously, with Los Angeles hosting as recently as 1984. Simply submitting a bid to the International Olympics Committee (IOC) costs up to millions of dollars. Host cities typically have to spend $50 million to $100 million in fees to a slew of consultancy agencies, event management companies, etc.
Hosting the Olympics is more costly than the bidding process. For instance, London spent $14.6 billion for hosting the Games in 2012. On the other side, Beijing spent a lavish $42 billion for the Games in 2008. Meanwhile, the Russians spent $51 billion dollars on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Making, it the costliest Olympic Games in the history of the Olympics.
Governments of host cities and bid teams love to brag about the legacy of hosting the Games. But the hidden costs of such a massive project is too evident to hide. Such megaprojects require additional employment, as well as subsequent improvement of the pre-existing facilities and public infrastructure. Most of these projects are fraught with costs overruns, shoddy work and a lack of long term vision.
According to a study conducted at the prestigious Oxford University In England, by Danish geographer Bent Flyvbjerg and American journalist Allison Stewart, which looked into the individual economic parameters of hosting the Summer Olympic Games between 1960 and 2012. The findings were astonishing, they found out that the Olympic Games overrun the initial cost estimate with 100 per cent consistency. No other megaproject is this consistent regarding cost overruns.
Athens, in particular, seems to have been the tipping point. The city pridefully hosted the Games in 2004, which ended up costing them €9 billion (a whopping $11 billion at today's exchange rate). The offset of the Games was in disguise the onset of Greece's tumultuous years. The country now is in total disarray, with sky-high unemployment rates, failing economic apparatus, record levels of homelessness, all among the grandiose venues built for the Games.
The conclusion is simple, hosting the Olympics is an extravagant affair. If not planned properly, it tends to result in a severe economic crisis for the host city. If the host city lacks facilities and public infrastructure to support the excess crowds pouring in, not hosting the Olympics may be the best option.
Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.
On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.
Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.
Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).
Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.
India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.
He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.
Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.
The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.
Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.