Navratri in the times of COVID-19, How Did Women Cope
Navratri is my favourite festival. It is one of the very few festivals that celebrates women, and women only. I don’t even remember any other such festival. Navratri celebrates the 9 forms of Goddess Durga. Every form is different in its own. I don’t know how much this idea of celebrating women with all of their unique traits is being accepted in real life but at least symbolically, it is beautiful.
This time, however, Navratri came when the world was facing a huge pandemic that by far has no medicine or vaccine and spreads by socialisation.
Coincidentally, the nationwide lockdown was imposed from the very first day of Navratri. Even before that there was Janta curfew and people were being asked to stay at home. The lockdown was important but it definitely had some huge impact on how we celebrate Navratri.
This time there were no little girls strutting around, fully dressed, collecting gifts and eating more than they can. We asked a few people how Coronavirus affected their Navratri celebrations. Have a look.
Sang Bhajans Alone
Festivals are not all about rituals. To these rituals, we have a lot of our emotions and memories attached. We try to cling to them as much as we can. Kiran Bisht, a housewife from Gurgaon says, ” We tried to celebrate Navratri just like we have been doing for years. Since we could not host a proper Keertan, my daughter and my friend who lives in our house on rent sang bhajans alone. It wasn’t the same. But it was better than not doing at all.”
Feeding stray cows for Kanya Poojan
Suman Lata, from Noida, says, “Every year we invite young girls at home for Kanya Poojan. It feels so good. But this year, For Kanya Poojan, due to coronavirus, it is unsafe to call little kids at home like that. So instead, I planned to feed stray cows. I have seen a few stray cows roaming around in our locality. I will feed them instead of girls for Kanya Poojan.”
Packing food for Kanya Poojan
Manjree Singh, a housewife from Delhi, says, ” Every year, for Navratri, my entire family keeps fasts. We eat fruits and other such things only. This Navratri, Coronavirus made it very difficult for us. Fruits were not available anywhere near our house. We couldn’t go out to get fruits. Every year we invite girls at our home for Kanya Poojan. We wash their feet, feed them and send them with gifts. This year, for Kanya Poojan, we decided to pack food and send it to to the girls’ houses instead of inviting them to our houses. We could not get any gifts because of the lockdown. So, we just put some money along with it.”
Feeding the poor
Alka Verma from Faridabad says, ” Every year we make a lot of prashad for the girls who come for Kanya Poojan. But this year we decide to make prashad only for the family members. This year we celebrated Kanya Poojan in a much better way. We donated some money in an NGO that is feeding the poor daily wage labourers who lost their livelihood. I think instead of feeding girls who are already full, we should feed the poor only. We are thinking of continuing this ritual for the coming years also. This gave us immense satisfaction that we could help someone in need.”
I don’t know a lot about religion. But if you ask me, donating food or money for the poor is the best way to please the Goddesses.
Ayushi Aggarwal is an intern at SheThePeople.TV. Views expressed are the author’s own.