Chhath puja celebrations began on Thursday with the traditional ‘nahay khay’ ceremony across several parts of the country. The four-day-long festival is being celebrated in many parts of the country, including, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, amid the raging coronavirus pandemic.
The Chhath Puja is celebrated on the sixth day of the Kartik month every year. During the festival, women and men fast and worship Sun and his wife Usha to express gratitude and pray for the prosperity of their family. Chhath puja will end on Saturday morning after prayers to the rising sun.
In view of the pandemic, several states have put a curb on the festival in view of the rising Covid-19 infection prompting protests and criticism from the political parties. Here is a list of states that have put restrictions on Chhath celebrations.
The Delhi government has imposed a blanket ban on Chhath puja festivities after Covid-19 cases jumped to record high numbers in the national capital. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) instructed officials to ensure that Chhath puja is not performed at public places, river banks and temples in the city this year in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has put restrictions on the mass celebration of Chhath puja at beaches, river banks and other natural water bodies in the city and asked devotees to avoid crowding.
In Odisha, the government has also prohibited the mass celebration of Chhath puja including bathing at river banks. Since a large number of people gather near the river banks, the celebration of the festival has huge potential for the spread of the coronavirus disease, the government had said while imposing the restrictions.
The Jharkhand government had also banned the festivities at river banks keeping Covid-19 in mind. However, a day later on November 17, the government retracted its order and allowed people to celebrate the festival at water bodies. However, strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols, including wearing face masks, has been made mandatory for devotees.
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