The Hindu festival of Navratri is just around the corner and people are excited. With the pandemic still in full swing, devotees are left wondering, ‘what to do in Navratri’? One of the commonly observed things to do in Navratri includes a 9-day fast along with daily gatherings for prayers. The tradition of ‘Kanya Puja’ is also popular wherein 9 prepubescent girls are invited home for a meal, as a representation of the nine Avatars of Goddess Durga. With social distancing still in effect, devotees are contemplating how to celebrate this festival and what not to do in Navratri 2020. Here, we bring you 9 tips to celebrate this festival along with some important cautions about the things not to do in Navratri.
When it comes to listing what not to do in Navratri this year, going to prayer gatherings in temples and other areas certainly top the list. Person-to-person contact is one of the biggest reasons for the widespread attack of this pandemic. Gatherings, especially in enclosed places, should be completely avoided. Instead, play your favourite prayer online and sing them along with your family.
Shopping for food and clothes is at its peak during this time as it is considered to be an auspicious period. People can be found clamouring in shops to buy food for their fasts as well as new clothes for the family. To avoid spreading the risk of infection, avoid visiting shops. Wherever possible get your things delivered to your home and sanitise them before using. Additionally, you can also shop for all your requirements online.
Young children and seniors belong to the high-risk category of people susceptible to the virus. While ‘Kanya Puja’ is a traditional form of celebrating this festival, try and do it a bit differently this year. Remember, group gatherings top the list of things not to do in Navratri. Instead of inviting ‘kanyas’ to your home and giving them money or gifts, transfer it to their accounts online (if possible). If not, you can also send the money to a temple in their name.
The act of giving is good no matter who the recipient is. For those of you looking to donate money, find an online organisation. There are several people suffering due to this pandemic, across the country. Help them by donating to relief funds. If giving money to girls is one of the important things to do in Navratri for you, you can also opt for a charity that helps educate and empower young girls.
One of the factors that add to the joy of celebrating this festival is coming together with friends and family. Just because social distancing is important, does not mean you can’t have fun with your loved ones. Plan an online meeting with all your close friends and get together at a specified time every day. You can stay connected with each other, without exposing yourself or another to risk.
Chances are, you will have to step out of your house sooner or later during Navratri. This may be due to the celebration or as part of your daily routine for buying essentials. With most of the country celebrating this festival, chances are you will encounter crowded areas. Be sure to always maintain your distance and wait for your turn. Most importantly, do not step out of your house without a mask and make sure to wash or dispose of it when home.
For those of you looking to head out for a bit and enjoy the festivities, avoid coming together in large numbers. Stick to groups of 4 people at a time and visit open-air spaces only. Enclosed areas greatly increase the risk of infection. Stick to visiting parks or other open areas during times when the crowd is least. Additionally, make groups of 4-5 people at a time to avoid increased interaction and keep yourself safe.
Another important aspect of what to do in Navratri 2020 is to keep sanitising. Every time you step out of your home, you will be coming in contact with numerous surfaces. To avoid the risk of contamination through a surface, be sure to keep your sanitiser on you at all times and use it regularly. A lot of people feel that if a mask covers their nose and mouth, they are free from the risk of infection. Here’s a news flash – coronavirus can spread through the eyes as well!
Joy, in the form of noise and music, is often a huge part of the festivities. However, this year as group gatherings come to a bit of halt, try and sit silently and feel the presence and strength of the Goddess in you. Take this time to be grateful for all you have and to find joy in your life’s daily moments.