Ugadi – the New Year’s Day for Karnataka and one of the biggest festivals of the state is on Tuesday – amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Those celebrating the festival know that the world has changed, and they need to be careful. NDTV spoke to some Bengaluru residents who went shopping for the festival.
“This time, Ugadi is going to be a little simple only. There is coronavirus all around so we are just trying to be a bit careful and having it subtle this time. We have instructions to wear the mask and be careful – so we are having it simple this time,” one shopper, Beena, said.
“We have to learn to live with it. We have no other go now,” she added.
Madhusudan also said that it was best to celebrate safely at home while trying to keep ancient traditions alive. “For Ugadi, we make sure the traditions and rituals are there,” he said. “But without much of a crowd or going close to the crowd. We will also make sure the government instructions are all properly followed. Mask, sanitizer, everything. At the same time, follow all the rituals at home. Be at home, safely at home.”
Ranjini had a word of advice for fellow citizens. “It is not only celebrating the festival; it is our responsibility to be safe. Please avoid coming out in the public. If we are there, we can celebrate more grandly in the coming year. Be careful.”
Sriraksha, who was shopping with Ranjini, added, “We should take precautions. We have to maintain rules and regulations from the government, like social distancing and wearing a mask.”
Bengaluru has accounted for the bulk of the state’s cases with over 7,000 new cases reported in the city in data released on Sunday.
The Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Urban, Manjunath J, told NDTV, “Already the government through various SOPs issued guidelines on gatherings in the city as well as the state. During Ugadi festival also we appeal through you to all the people to celebrate Ugadi but follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. Always wear a mask, maintain social distancing, wash hands and use a sanitizer.
Health Minister, Dr K Sudhakar, told media persons, “Ugadi marks the beginning of new year as per Indian tradition. We celebrate it by having neem and jaggery symbolising good and bad, joy and sorrow of life. This Ugadi, vaccine is the ‘Bella‘ (jaggery) for defeating Covid which is ‘Bevu‘ (neem). Everyone should take the ‘Bella‘ (vaccination) and help in controlling Covid.”