With the coronavirus pandemic sending life in a frenzy, it will be fair to say that the year 2020 is an unprecedented one. As a gregarious animal, this is man’s first encounter with social distancing, and we have dealt with it with remarkable grace. With the ‘new normal’ in place, we have started returning to normalcy, and celebrating festivals in an unconventional fashion is something that we are all looking forward to. In this context, the following Tips to celebrate Durga Puja will help you out –
Offer Virtual Pushpanjali
As Bengalis, all of us are familiar with the concept of offering Pushpanjani (flower offerings) to the Goddess on the three days of Saptami, Ashtami, and Navami. The process involves members of the Durga Puja Committee distribute flowers, while the priest dictates the prayers to be muttered while offering the flowers to the Goddess. The offering is usually collected in a tray by the organizers and submitted to the Goddess’s feet.
This would involve multiple people coming in contact with the flowers and fostering the community spread of COVID-19 in the present times. That is why it is recommended that you give pushpanjali from home and offer your flower offerings to an image of Durga at home. This is especially true if you have older people, pregnant women, or young children at home. Understand that by praying this Durga Puja at home you are keeping yourself and your family members safe and joining in the bid to fight against COVID-19.
Watch Live Broadcast of Puja Pandals
For most people, the essence of Durga Puja lies in pandal hopping. While this is not encouraged during the COVID times, you can always look towards technology to have your wishes fulfilled. Most major cities of Bengal and beyond have their own apps where you would see the live broadcasting of Durga Puja. Play it on your mobile device, laptop, or TV, and watch it with your family. Although this means of Durga Puja celebration 2020 might be different from that of previous years, this is the safest and best way of celebrating the festival at the moment.
Arrange Snacks and Beverages at Home
As foodies, an integral part of the Durga Puja festivities centers around the food we eat. As you are not going out, look for ways in which you can replicate the same at home. YouTube and Yummly are where you can go to if you plan to cook your favorite delicacies. Alternatively, there are several read-to-fry junk food that you can get and heat up at home. If you are planning to order-in food for delivery apps like Swiggy or Zomato, make sure you heat the food in the oven before consumption. Durga Puja 2020 is happening in times that are different from anything that we have heard or seen, but that is no excuse to give up on the gastronomical aspect of the festival.
Dress Up for the Festival
For most of us, this year the festival is devoid of the Durga Puja pandal hopping. However, this does not mean that you should give up on dressing for the festival. Understand that dressing up in new clothes is more about feeling good about yourself than anything else. And in this hour of the pandemic, positivity is what all of us need in our lives.
In our previous article (Durga Puja Shopping), we have discussed how you can complete your Puja shopping without putting yourself at risk of contracting the virus. Wear new clothes as you sit with your family and enjoy watching live puja broadcasts. Also, feel free to click selfies in your new clothes and upload them to your social media profiles. By doing so, you spread optimism and encourage your peers to follow your Tips to celebrate Durga Puja 2020.
Take ‘Adda’ to a Virtual Medium
Adda or chitchatting is an essential part of Durga Puja and we cannot ignore that while discussing the top Tips to celebrate Durga Puja amidst the COVID pandemic. Luckily for us, we now live in a digital world and most people are well acquainted with the different virtual meeting tools. The Zoom, Webex, or Google Meet that allowed you to work from home (or attend classes from home) can now enable you to give your Durga Puja Adda a virtual touch. While we agree that a virtual adda is nothing close to meeting your friends in the pandal and giving them a tight hug, this is the best we can do right now considering the present situation.
Give Back to The Society
In India, Durga Puja is more of a social function, and people from all walks of life are involved in it. From the poor craftsmen preparing the idols at Kumartuli to the local light man arranging for the decorations of shops during the festival, Durga Puja is all about having everyone under one umbrella. This year, as the country gears up for a low-key Durga Puja, you need to realize that the livelihood of thousands of people is up for a toss.
Some of the Best Tips to celebrate Durga Puja this year include engaging in charity activity. You may either choose to take the help of a local NGO to reach out to them. Alternatively, you can help poor people in whichever way you can. From giving your maids and security guard some extra cash (more than their usual Durga Puja bonus) to arranging for funds transfer to an old-age home, there are millions of things you can do. Choose a cause that is the closest to your heart and donate the money that you will otherwise spend on Durga Puja festivities.
2020 is a strange year and nothing is the same as that of the past. However, as a race, we humans have always strived forward and risen up to every challenge. COVID is no exception and I am sure that we will stand tall and fight it out. Till then, we hope that the Tips to celebrate Durga Puja have put a smile on your beautiful face as you look forward to celebrating the festival of victory of good over evil.
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