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Worshippers gather on Ganges bank to celebrate Chhath Puja despite COVID-19 concerns04:49

Worshippers gather on Ganges bank to celebrate Chhath Puja despite COVID-19 concerns

India, Varanasi
November 22, 2020 at 12:25 GMT +00:00 · Published

Hundreds of Hindu believers gathered on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on Saturday in order to observe the festivities of Chhath Puja. The celebrations were held for four days, concluding on Saturday, and took place in spite of COVID-19 concerns around mass gatherings and in breach of guidelines.

Monio Gupta, a believer who was interviewed at the celebrations, explained some of the reasoning behind travelling in order to observe the festival: "This is an important puja (act of worship) and we have to do it. For other pujas, we normally do them at home, but we can't celebrate Chhath puja at home, because in this puja we are worshipping the Sun God, If it is an Idol worship, then we do it at home, but for this Puja, we have to come in front of the Sun, that's why we have come to this Ghat (flight of steps) and directly perform the puja to the Sun God. This can't be done at home."

Taking part in the celebrations has been a return to normality for some, with one believer expressing gratitude to the festival's peaceful nature: "Despite coronavirus, there is no disruption in our celebrations and worshipping, and everyone is celebrating the festival with joy and happiness and the puja has ended peacefully after all the rituals."

Another believer expressed hope in a faith-based approach to COVID-19: "If we appeal to god, coronavirus will disappear."

India has registered 9,095,806 cases of COVID-19 with 133,227 related deaths, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as updated on Sunday. The country currently has the second-highest amount of known COVID-19 cases in the world.

Worshippers gather on Ganges bank to celebrate Chhath Puja despite COVID-19 concerns04:49
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Hundreds of Hindu believers gathered on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on Saturday in order to observe the festivities of Chhath Puja. The celebrations were held for four days, concluding on Saturday, and took place in spite of COVID-19 concerns around mass gatherings and in breach of guidelines.

Monio Gupta, a believer who was interviewed at the celebrations, explained some of the reasoning behind travelling in order to observe the festival: "This is an important puja (act of worship) and we have to do it. For other pujas, we normally do them at home, but we can't celebrate Chhath puja at home, because in this puja we are worshipping the Sun God, If it is an Idol worship, then we do it at home, but for this Puja, we have to come in front of the Sun, that's why we have come to this Ghat (flight of steps) and directly perform the puja to the Sun God. This can't be done at home."

Taking part in the celebrations has been a return to normality for some, with one believer expressing gratitude to the festival's peaceful nature: "Despite coronavirus, there is no disruption in our celebrations and worshipping, and everyone is celebrating the festival with joy and happiness and the puja has ended peacefully after all the rituals."

Another believer expressed hope in a faith-based approach to COVID-19: "If we appeal to god, coronavirus will disappear."

India has registered 9,095,806 cases of COVID-19 with 133,227 related deaths, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as updated on Sunday. The country currently has the second-highest amount of known COVID-19 cases in the world.

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