The Chhath festival, celebrated by the people of this ancient capital of the Mithila region, has been a cultural convergence of both the Maithili-speaking people and the people migrated here from hill areas. Janakpur is believed to be the capital of the legendary king Janak, the foster father of Sita, who was married to Lord Ramchandra from Ayodhya in India . People of the Mithila region are of the opinion that the Chhath festival, also known as Surya Pooja (worshipping the sun) has been described in the Rig Veda, which is believed to be the oldest text available in the world.
Chhath emerged as a traditional festival after Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas, began worshipping the sun during their one-year disguise in the palace of king Birat. People believe that worshipping the sun would help cure the disease like leprosy and bring about prosperity and longevity to their family members. Local people say that the festival has become more important after migrants from the hills also adopted it as their own cultural asset. Women of the Mithila region were busy in purchasing varieties of articles to offer to the sun god.
The Chhath festival is marked for four days. Men and women prepare special dishes made up of special rice and molasses and taste them after an audience of the moon. They took a dip in Ganga Sagar and Dhanush Sagar, the famous lakes of the area. During the four-day-festival, the devotees worship the rising and setting sun.
This year (2009) the main Chhat festival is celebrated on 24th and 25th October 2009.