Chhath Puja: Here’s how states plan to allow celebrations amid COVID-19

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November 18, 2020 10:25 PM

Some states have asked officials to ensure that a group of people should not take bath in one waterbed as it could increase chances of coronavirus transmission.

Some states have even put a ban on Chhath Puja gatherings at public places like river banks and ponds. (Photo source: PTI)

Chhath Puja 2020 Guidelines: Chhath Puja, a four-day-long festival dedicated to the Sun god, has started. It is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and joy in several states but it is a major festival in north India. The festival usually witnesses huge congregations. However, this year’s celebrations won’t be the same because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Several states have put restrictions on religious ceremonies and rituals and some have even put a ban on Chhath Puja gatherings at public places like river banks and ponds. Some states have asked officials to ensure that a group of people should not take bath in one waterbed as it could increase chances of coronavirus transmission.

These steps have been taken by the state governments to ensure the safety of people amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a list of guidelines issued by several states for Chhath Puja celebrations at public places.

Uttar Pradesh – Yogi Adityanath government has issued an advisory for the Chhath Puja celebrations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and has urged devotees to perform rituals within their homes. In case they want to celebrate it outside, it should be done near their homes.

The government has also asked authorities to ensure proper arrangements of ambulance and drinking water. It said that the focus should be on ensuring that people follow social distancing norms during the rituals.

Devotees prepare to take a dip in the River Ganga on the occasion of ‘Chhath’ festival, in Patna, Bihar. (PTI Photo)

Jharkhand – Two days after banning religious ceremonies and congregations during Chhath Puja, the state government has now allowed the same. The decision was taken after the state government was criticised by opposition leaders over the guidelines.

However, Chief Minister Hemant Soren has sought the cooperation of the devotees and urged them to celebrate the festival at home as much as possible.

Bihar – Chhath Puja holds an important significance in Bihar, hence the state government has asked authorities to clean certain demarcated lakes for the occasion. The government has urged devotees to follow all norms of social distancing, especially while offering ‘argha’ to the Sun.

Food stalls and decorative lights at public places have not been allowed. Devotees are being discouraged from sitting at riverbanks during Chhath rituals.

Delhi: No Chhath Puja rituals will be allowed at public places in the national capital like riverbanks and ponds. Amid the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to lift the ban on the same saying ‘a person has to be alive to celebrate any festival.’

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has already issued an order in this regard.

Mumbai: The Mumbai civic body has not allowed Chhath Puja celebrations on lakes, riverbanks, and beaches this year because of the pandemic. It has urged devotees to avoid large gatherings and perform rituals at their home.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that the decision has been taken as it will be difficult to ensure social distancing norms if people will gather in a large number of rituals.

Odisha – The state government has prohibited mass celebrations including bathing at river banks. Chief Secretary A K Tripathy has issued an order stating the large gathering during Chhath Puja has potential for coronavirus spread.

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