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2020 – A year of low-key festivities


India is a country known for its rich and vibrant festivals, all of which are a testament to our diverse culture and traditions! These festivals have always brought people and communities closer, thereby fostering a strong bond of brotherhood. Given the current circumstances, do you even remember what celebrating a festival feels like anymore? Coming together with other communities to revel in the festive spirit brought such a positive energy around us. Hello Vizag recalls how festivals were redefined this year.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is usually marked with much pomp across India and is a community affair. Huge idols of the much-loved Hindu god, Ganesh ji, are installed in welldecorated pandals! The revelry ends with the idols being immersed in water but things were different this year due though the coronavirus pandemic, and a stringent lockdown derailed life across India. Public Ganesh Chaturthi festivities, which should have culminated on September 1 were cancelled as people celebrated in their homes. Many organisers cancelled their shows and the few who did set up pandals complied with strict coronavirus guidelines!


The year 2020 started on a gloomy note with an unknown virus spreading through nations bringing the whole world to a standstill. While the fight with the virus is far from over, we have all learned to live with it and are trying to resume our pre- pandemic lives in the new normal. But covid impacted the way we celebrated festivals! They weren’t as bright as before. Wearing the finest of clothes, hopping from one Diwali party to another, personally delivering Diwali greetings to relatives and friends, being stuck for hours in traffic with car full of gifts and goodies, nothing of that sort happened. Infact, the guest list was trimmed considerably! People invited only a select few for Diwali parties and were mostly sending Diwali greetings through couriers


Guru Nanak Jayanti was celebrated in a low key affair this year due to the pandemic! The evening ‘kirtan’ was done maintaining all social distancing measures. Living through the pandemic, some of the devotees preferred worshipping and continued to pray to Guru Nanakji from their respective homes.


As coronavirus dampened the festivities of most festivals this year, Christmas was no exception as the festival witnessed more digital celebrations on its eve. Since, it is believed that Jesus was born at night, churches around the globe hold prayers on the evening of December 24 every year to commemorate Christ’s birth. People, who would visit the midnight mass every year, joined the celebrations online, this year.


Ramzan this year took place while we were in the midst of the battle against Covid-19. The glitter, excitement and enthusiasm seem to be subdued in monochrome tones as celebrations and colours were submerged in isolation owing to the global pandemic. Tests, rising corona cases and identification of hotspots clad kept the residents in seclusion in Ramadan taking away the festive mood which our diverse culture is known for. Usually when the holy month of Ramzan begins, markets remain open until late and a number of people drench themselves in the holy enthusiasm. But, the lockdown left cities draped in a deserted look! Mosques were closed and bazaars were empty. Police deployment ensured the lockdown protocols were followed.


Dussehra, one of the most important festivals of Hyderabad too, was celebrated by city dwellers following Covid-19 protocols. On one hand, there was a limited crowd of shoppers on streets while on the other hand, many people enjoyed the festivities at their home through the virtual telecast of programmes from pandals. The ones who stepped out followed social distancing and wore masks.


For the first time in so many years, the doors of many fire temples were shut in Navroz. This year, the traditional festivities which also included a lavish feast of Parsi delicacy and a visit to the agiary, all were toned down amid coronavirus. Several other Parsi shops recorded a dip in their orders, only fewer guests were congregating at home s for Navroz celebrations. Many of the fire temples requested the netizens to not come inside just to avoid crowding. All the usual rituals were being carried indoors by the priests and likewise all the annual charity events were asked to be closed.

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