The much famous ‘Govinda’ will be a major miss this year, as in view of the coronavirus pandemic, ‘Dahi Handi’ celebrations will not take place. The pandemic has pushed religious celebrations indoors, amongst close family and relatives. The much-celebrated Dahi Handi – the day after Krishna Janmashtami involving communities hanging an earthen pot filled with Dahi, followed with the famous human pyramids – will surely be a big miss.
As the state deals with the coronavirus pandemic, the ‘Janmashtami’ festivities have been curtailed, as the Dahi Handi celebrations stand cancelled. As this does come as a welcomed step, locals around are gearing up to celebrate the festivity with close family, keeping the fervour on a silent note.
“The situation is getting worse with the pandemic, and this decision is a welcomed one,” said Amogh Golatkar, a Panaji resident. “We will miss outdoor happenings around this festival, but at the same time, safety comes first,” he added.
With requests to limit visits to friends and neighbours, people have been encouraged to use social media to convey their wishes.
The Goa Disaster Management Authority has also listed guidelines for citizens of the state to follow in view of Ganesh Chaturthi. Goans from outside the state wishing to come for Chaturthi celebrations to Goa will be required to follow all the existing SOP’s, which include a Covid-19 negative certificate from an ICMR recognised lab or test and quarantine themselves upon arrival, or go into 14 days home quarantine.
Additionally, all markets in the state selling festival items will have longer and staggered timing to prevent crowding, and the same will be monitored by local bodies, including the police authorities.
In a move to encourage people to remain indoors as much as possible, Chitrashalla’s are encouraged to promote home delivery of idols if possible. Also, the sale of idols can begin in advance – from August 20 onwards.
With the prevailing situation, all Sarvajanik – Community Ganesh Utsav – will be permitted only on a case to case basis by local bodies, although, all entertainment programs will not be allowed. Committees have also been encouraged to have their religious proceedings live-streamed on various social media platforms.
Also, to permit a minimum number of people during the installation, as well as immersion of these idols at Sarvajanik’s, authorities have said that the height of the idol should be restricted to four feet so that a maximum of six people are needed, while only ten people will be permitted for Artis. Furthermore, no Sarvajanik idols are allowed in containment and sealed zones of the state.
Individually at home, people can celebrate the festival among close relatives, with outdoor visits limited. Also, to prevent smooth immersion of idols, local bodies are asked to maintain a ward-wise time-table for Ganesh idols immersion on an hourly basis, which should be communicated to all residents.
Those undergoing home-isolation or home quarantine should neither host anyone in their house nor visit outdoors.
Despite all the restrictions in place and limited celebrations, people across the state are looking forward to a close and family comforted festivity this year around.