The festivals of Navratri, Dussehra and Durga Puja are about to begin, with Navratri scheduled to start on October 17, and Dussehra slated for October 25.
The government stated that all the festivals must be celebrated in a simple manner. (Representative image)
Coronavirus in Maharashtra: Maharashtra to witness subdued Navratri as state issues SOP for celebrations! The festival season is around the corner, and while the celebrations are usually held with fervour and joy, this year might see subdued festivities due to the coronavirus pandemic. Amid this, the Maharashtra government has issued an SOP on how Navratri would be marked in the state. The state home ministry, issuing a 16-point SOP, suggested that all dandiya, garba and cultural programmes should be cancelled this year to ensure the safety of the citizens.
The government stated that all the festivals must be celebrated in a simple manner. The festivals of Navratri, Dussehra and Durga Puja are about to begin, with Navratri scheduled to start on October 17, and Dussehra slated for October 25.
Let’s take a look at the guidelines for Navratri, Durga Puja and Dussehra in Maharashtra.
Navratri in Maharashtra: Guidelines issued by state
The ministry suggested the cancellation of cultural programmes, garba and dandiya.
The government stated that people should refrain from holding events that would attract large gatherings of crowds, and instead of hosting celebrations, the various festival organising mandals have been asked to conduct health-related camps, in order to spread awareness and help those in need by holding, say, a blood donation drive.
The state government initiative of ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ must also be promoted by all the mandals, the ministry said, while precautionary measures for curtailing the spread of COVID-19, dengue as well as malaria should be highly publicized.
The government further added that idols made of metal should be worshipped instead of those made of clay or Plaster of Paris, and where metal ones are not used, people should try and use eco-friendly idols which could be dissolved in artificial immersion tanks or at the homes of the people.
The idols should not be over 4 feet high in case of mandals, and for homes, it should not be over 2 feet in height. Moreover, for the arrival or the immersion of the idols, processions have been prohibited, and immersion itself has been not allowed in containment zones.
The ministry also asserted that there should be no gathering for bhajan, kirtan or aarti events, and online media and cable network should be used for celebrations, wherever possible.
Mandals would have to take permission from local authorities to host public gatherings for Navratri, and mandap must be set up according to the regulations laid down by local authorities, civic bodies or as per the directives of the Bombay HC.
Sanitisation and thermal screening have been made mandatory for mandals, which would not be allowed to serve drinks or food. Moreover, over five volunteers would be allowed to remain present in a mandal at a time.
Crowding has been discouraged for Ravana dahan, for which the state has said that live screening should be facilitated.