8 Creative Ways To Celebrate Religious Festivals While Social Distancing
With the festival season approaching, many of us are in a quandary. We are wondering how to celebrate while, at the same time, adhere to social distancing. Read on as we tell you how
By Vani Venugopal • 8 min read
It is time to dust out the diyas, collect rangoli patterns and get busy preparing festive treats in the kitchen. Festival season is here! Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali are all just around the corner.
This year, however, things are a little different. 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. During the course of the year, COVID-19 brought the world to a near standstill. As a result of the implications of the pandemic, our lives have changed almost completely. However, we have managed to come together as a community and make the best of the situation. It is this attitude of hope and positivity that we need to take with us as we enter the festival season.
As we look ahead to celebrating these upcoming festivals, it is easy to focus on what we can’t do right now. Yes, there are many restrictions and most of us will not get to celebrate the festivals in a manner we would have wanted. However, while large parties and outdoor gatherings are still off limits, there is no reason why we shouldn’t celebrate within the safety of our houses. In fact, many aspects of festivals that we hold dear to our hearts can still happen. We can still decorate our houses and cook delicious food. We can still send gifts to our loved ones. We can still spend time with our families and have a great time together.
So, let’s stay positive and focus all our energy on the many things that we can do. Read on to find out how you can celebrate the festivals while social distancing and following all the required safety precautions.
1. Start with a cleaning spree
An important part of all festivals, especially Diwali, is to clean the house, declutter and throw out old and unused items. Kick-start your festive season by going on a cleaning spree. This is a great idea given the current COVID-19 situation as well. A thorough round of cleaning and sanitization can protect your home from diseases.
Get your family involved in the cleaning drive. Get your children to participate in the smaller tasks such as cleaning their rooms, folding clothes, etc. This will not only help you in your chores but help them mentally prepare for the festivals.
2. Brighten your house with decorations
Nothing puts everyone in the festive mood like bright and colourful decorations around the house. Pull out those fairy lights and diyas and add some sparkle to your house.
Making DIY decorations are also a great way to bond during the festive season. Get together with your kids and make some paper cup fairy lights and paper bag lampshades to decorate the house. Check out this article for some easy-to-do DIY ideas.
3. Add some colour with rangolis
Rangoli is an important part of festivals in all parts of the country. Collect fun and innovative rangoli designs and try them out with your family. Since you will not have guests visiting to admire your rangoli, take pictures and upload on social media and share with your friends over the phone.
Another great idea is to have a rangoli competition. Many associations have rangoli competitions every year. Why not move them online this year? Create a WhatsApp group with friends and family where you can share photos of your rangoli and run a competition for the best design.
4. Send gifts and cards to loved ones
Festivals are synonymous with gifts. Do not give up on this tradition this year. Simply move it online. With e-commerce being so accessible, it is possible to send gifts to almost anyone, anywhere in the world with just a click of a button.
To keep up with traditions, you can easily order sweets online and have them delivered to your loved ones. Make sure to include a note or message to add a personal touch.
Handmade cards are another way to share your love. An additional plus is that kids really enjoy making cards. Join with your kids and make cards for your friends and relatives. You can then either mail it to them or take photos and share it with them.
5. Don’t give up on festival shopping
No festival is complete without shopping! In the current scenario, visiting crowded malls and department stores is not recommended. So, try to shift all your shopping online this year. Most e-commerce platforms have great offers and sales around the festive season and this is the perfect time to get your shopping done.
However, we advise you to do the shopping a little early to account for delivery time. This will serve you in good stead in case you have to return or exchange items as well. Happy shopping!
6. Get together and make delicious food
It is safe to say that, with the lockdown, most of us have cooked and baked more this year than any year before. Many of us have also discovered the joy of cooking with family. So, this festival season, come together as a family and make delicious food. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials and celebrity chef videos to guide you on your festival cooking. Otherwise, reach out to friends and family and have a cook-along on video call.
“I have never made sweets at home before but this year I got my mother to come on video call and guide me to make rava laddus in preparation for Navratri. My son joined in and all of us had a lot of fun together with my mother sharing stories from her childhood. Plus, the laddus turned out great!” says Swetha from Bangalore.
If cooking isn’t really your style, there are many food delivery services and home cooks who deliver food on order during the festive season. Get recommendations from friends for the best ones in your locality and enjoy delicious food at home with family.
7. Get everyone together on video call parties
The one good thing to come out of the lockdowns is that we now gather virtually with far-away family and friends a lot more than before. Earlier, a few family members or friends would inevitably be missing from parties or gatherings due to work or other commitments. However, now it is easy for everyone to come together on a video call. Getting to see everyone together is indeed a joyous feeling.
Arrange video call parties for the festivals. Get your family and friends to come online and have fun together. Sing songs, share stories, laugh and be merry!
8. Reimagine traditions
This year also asks us to reimagine many of the traditions associated with festivals. Everyone is adapting to life in the “new normal” and these applies to festivities as well. For instance, many bhajan and satsang groups have moved online so that people can participate remotely. Visiting houses to see Golu is an important tradition in South India during Navratri. Many people are choosing to do this virtually this year.
“Every year for Navratri, we used to invite young girls home for Kanya Poojan and give them gifts. This year, it is risky to have these girls come home. Instead, we have decided to donate money to an NGO that works for the education of girls,” says Neha from Delhi.
This year has been a time of unprecedented hardship and suffering for people around the world. During the festival season, let us take a moment and remember those less fortunate than us.
“This year we have decided to keep Diwali low-key. Instead of our regular celebrations, we have decided to donate money to an NGO that is rehabilitating labourers who have lost jobs during the pandemic. This seems like the best way to celebrate this year,” says Mahesh from Chennai.
“Instead of having a large family gathering for Diwali, I plan on making mithai and snacks for hospital staff who have been working tirelessly during the pandemic,” says Lakshmi.
This festive season let us all come together and spread love and kindness. The world needs it, this year, more than ever before. However you choose to celebrate the festive season, remember to adhere to the safety mandates prescribed by the government. Safety has to be our top-most priority right now. Stay indoors, connect with your family and have joyous time together.
We wish you and your family a blessed festival season!
About the author:
Written by Vani Venugopal on 12 October 2020.
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