New Delhi: The four-day celebrations of Chhath Puja have begun across the country with restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chhath, celebrated six days after Diwali, is a major festival for the people of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The annual festival is dedicated to the Sun god.
Due to the pandemic, that has led to restrictions on all festivals this past year, Chhath will also not be celebrated in the usual way. A key ritual of Chhath involves devotees standing in water of ponds or lakes and making offerings to the deity at sunset and sunrise. With the pandemic still raging, this can be a cause of concern as it may spread the infection thus leading several states restricting activities.
Delhi, that declared Chhath Puja as a holiday, didn't allow community celebration and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the people not to celebrate at ponds and other water bodies.
"Even if one COVID-19 infected person enters the water during Chhath Puja, all others might get infected by the virus," he said, adding his government is being forced to restrict Chhath Puja celebrations at river banks, ponds and other public places due to the threat of a spike in cases.