Durga Puja: Eastern Indian celebrations commence despite Covid-19 threat

Hindu festivities continue amidst Covid-19 as Bengali locals take to the streets to celebrate Durga Puja.

A man made pandel decorated for Durga Puja – Vidit Mitra

The annual Hindu festivities, Durga Puja, will end this weekend as they approach the final day known as Dussehra. This years festival has taken place despite concerns surrounding Covid-19, with a cap on attendance and social distancing measures being implemented by the city high court.

What is Durga Puja?

Durga Puja is an annual Hindu tradition in which female empowerment is celebrated through the means of festivities. Locals will decorate streets and organise feasts with friends and family to celebrate Puja’s victory over the Demon King Mahishusara, which is seen in Hindu culture as a victory of good over evil.

The impact of Covid-19 on Durga Puja

The threat of Covid-19 has dampened the usual festive spirit that is associated with the Durga Puja season. The city high court have issued a series of instructions that must be followed, including social distancing measures and that only young people are able to attend feasts.

Raya, a local Bengali resident says ”This year will be very different, not many people on the streets to witness the pandals because its impossible to control crowds of millions”. She went on to say ”It becomes a huge part of tourism does Puja, everyone comes from all parts of the world to celebrate but this year that’s not possible”.

The Shree Bhumi pandel in Kolkata – Vidit Mitra

A tradition linked to Durga Puja is that families get together for feasts after a period of fasting but due to Coronavirus restrictions this is no longer possible. The disappointment was shared by Ayush Chakraborty, another local Bengali resident, when he said ”it will be very difficult for us as this supposed to be a time of celebration but we must abide by the rules to keep everyone safe”.

Durga Puga will conclude on Monday.

About the Author

Brett Poskett Vidit Mitra
Year 2 Journalism student, from Leeds, reporting for Leeds Now

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