Vinayaka Chavithi-Before Corona and After Corona Differences by Samhitha Vootkoor

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Festivals create a joyful ambiance around us, every year we wait for our favorite festivals with utmost interest. One such Festival that every Indian look in terms of celebration and devotion is Vinayaka Chavithi. It is not just a one-day celebration but, the festive fervor stays in the air for 10 days. The enjoyment and excitement start from getting the Ganesh and placing it in the pandal. And, it stays along with the different activities like Pandal darshan, the cultural activities, the Ganesh pooja. Finally, the zeal reaches the zenith during the Ganesh immersion.

This year Vinayaka Chavithi is observed on August 22nd and follows till September 1st. But, this year the festival we celebrated is completely different from all the years till now. Amidst the enemy of the world, the celebrations turned lowkey. The festive frolics are supposed to be for 10 days but rather they are short-lived. Though several other festivals were fallen as victims to this pandemic, nothing has caused us gargantuan disappointment than missing Ganesh Chaturthi.

Covid-19 has impacted and changed the world dynamics, as such, it has also affected us celebrating festivals. Let us see how the pandemic has changed the way we used to celebrate Ganesh Chathurthi.

1.A loss to Idol Makers

The pandemic has brought us down economically. It also impacted the lives of several workers, one such vulnerable group is idol makers. with the pandemic guidelines and limited pandals around, the idol makers have made fewer sales and more losses. People were encouraged to make the celebrations confined to their home, rather than in society. Moreover, a certain number of people compromised festival rather than coming out of their houses in fear. Several others were seen making the idols by themselves at their homes. Unlike every other year, where the idol makers see several customers and have a chance to display their creativity, this year we could only witness the utter disappointment in their faces.

2.Increased Essentials

Before the commencement of any festival, we go for pooja samagri shopping. This time few items were added to the shopping list. Yes, sanitizer, mask, disinfectant spray, face shield, and whatnot. The Pandal organizers have to be cautious all the time and follow the SOP set by the government. Extra arrangements that follow the guidelines are to be made by the organizers.

3. Pandals Darshan

When I was a kid, my friends and I used to visit every possibly Ganesh pandal. And at the end of the festival, we used to count who visited the most number of pandals. Gone are those days, with social distancing in place, people can’t go out for Ganesh darshan.

4. Fun and Celebrations

Every evening, there used to be some gathering for a cultural event. That includes fancy dress competitions, singing, dancing, sports and many more. That was a different vibe and happiness. With the pandemic, no such activities are taking place. This year people have to stay in the memories of all the previous years.

5.LOW-key festivity

Though the festival is celebrated for 10 days, the fervor stayed barely 10 minutes. The famous Khairatabad Ganesh also observed a toned-down celebration. On the other hand, Mumbai’s famous Lalbaugcha Raja witnessed a different scene. Rather than Ganesh Utsav, there was a blood and plasma donation camp at the Lalbagh to fight the corona crisis. This clearly evinces the changes in the celebration.

6. Jejune Immersion

The Immersion dances, the sound, and the vibe is everyone’s favorite. This year, to follow the guidelines, we just have to dance by ourselves in our homes but not with our friends.

It might sound depressing on how the tables have turned in one year. but, one thing is sure that all of us are praying for one thing that is, to overcome this pandemic and get back to our normal lives. Also, we have to acknowledge and appreciate the frontline workers who are the real Gods in these situations. Certain places also saw the Ganesh idols made in the form of frontline workers. Let’s hope for a safe and normal life soon and, let’s not make the social distancing, distance us from the festivals and devotion.