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    COVID-19 Ganpati Guidelines: Making It Fun While Social Distancing

    Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukar Ya (O father Ganesha, come again early next year)! All ready to welcome your favourite guest with utmost devotion and enthusiasm? Ganesh Chaturthi, in all its grandeur, is celebrated with utmost devotion and enthusiasm. The lockdown might have necessitated the need for you to make some changes since Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has been imposed in various places from September 10 to 19 as a precautionary measure, banning the gathering of people, to curb the transmission of the virus. But that doesn’t mean you have to enjoy it any less! Here are some fun and exciting ways to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, while being safe!

    TC46 connected with Dr Amit Nabar, Consultant Emergency Medicine & HBOT, SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai. Here he explains the Covid-19 guidelines and ways to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi while keeping you and your family safe.

    1.  Follow physical distancing, wear double masks, and maintain hand hygiene

    Like every year, Ganesh Chaturthi is here. With the homecoming of Lord Ganesha begins India’s season of festivities, family gatherings, celebrations. However, this year too, COVID19 is very much still amongst us. Thus, we must take utmost precautions to ensure our own safety and those around us. Always remember to follow physical distancing, wear double masks, and maintain hand hygiene. Be cautious and don’t use sanitiser or spray alcohol-based disinfectant near diya flames or fire.

    2. Avoid mass gatherings and processions

    If we are to tell the absolute truth, don’t go to mass gatherings and processions. We all know how the virus spreads, and not everyone follows COVID-19 safety protocols. Thus, avoid crowding as much as possible. We can’t stress enough on following government guidelines, wearing your set of double masks, and using the sanitiser. 

    3. Encourage home Ganpati Visarjan

    Some necessary precautions to take are – avoid mass gatherings and have small get-togethers. Encourage home Ganpati Visarjan and immerse the idol in a big bucket. It is advisable to bring eco-friendly idols made of clay which can easily dissolve in water. 

    4. It is not safe to visit the society mandals

    It is not safe to visit the society mandals. In case you are planning to visit, make sure the society mandals are well ventilated and open rather than keeping it closed. If possible, plan wing or floor wise Darshan timings for bigger societies and make a schedule to avoid crowding at a single point. Devotees should follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.

    5. Avoid unnecessary travelling

    Avoid unnecessary travelling during these times but if work demands travel, ensure your basic safety and hygiene protocols. Wear double masks, sanitise your hands. Once you reach the office, wash your hands with soap water. Carry disinfectant spray when using public transport. Do not spit out in the open. Eat healthily and have proper home-cooked regular meals with vegetables and fruits to boost immunity. Also, wash the clothes you’re wearing outdoors when you reach home.

    6. Take precautions when celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi

    Don’t allow anyone to enter without masks. If you’re having guests over, encourage them to wear masks, wash hands, and maintain proper hygiene. For cultural programmes in your societies, promote vaccination or blood donation camps. If you are financially well off, this Ganesh Chaturthi, help someone less privileged than you get their vaccine and educate them about the same.

    Host virtual aarti and darshan instead of inviting people over to your home. If at all you are having people at your place, give them sanitizers and soap water to wash hands as soon as they enter. In case you have puja at home, see if you can avail online ritual service.

    7. Tips to celebrate a socially distant Ganesh Chaturthi.

    As mentioned previously, 

    • Follow your COVID safety protocols
    • If you have elderly family members or there’s someone unvaccinated, avoid inviting too many people unnecessarily
    • The best way to celebrate physically distant Ganesh Chaturthi is to have virtual darshans, not going to pandals
    • Avoid outside food

    10 Unique & Fun Ways To Enjoy Ganesh Chaturthi While Staying Safe

    1. DIY Your Own Ganpati Idol

    You can try making Bappa’s murti at home with your family. This option is for the ones that have that artistic streak within them and can turn around a Ganesha idol out of recycled paper, organic paint, organic glue and clay. A simple way is to create a dough using clay, organic glue and paper pieces and then mould it into an idol, which can later be painted with organic paint. You can ensure all the materials used for making the idol are safe for the environment and hence, the idol can be easily immersed in water and then the water can be discarded in the backyard without harming the plants.

    If DIY is not your game, find here tips to choose the right eco-friendly murti & perform visarjan at home.

    2. Play Aarti On Speaker & Dance

    To get the best of celebrations you can choose a portable speaker with a mic that will surely bring in the festive mode and you can play your bhajans in full delight and all the family members can dance their hearts out Ganpati songs! You might even get to know what type of dancers your family members are! If you have close relatives who love dancing as much as you do, do a virtual dance face-off, but remember to make videos! Watch this fun video for inspiration.

    3. Attend Virtual Darshans

    Now you have the chance to sit at home and see darshan of multiple places at one go, unlike before when traffic could’ve gotten the better of you. Make your celebrations holy by attending live virtual prayers across different religious places. Keep a list of darshans ready and connect your TV or laptop and have a holy celebration right at the comfort of your home.

    4. Modak Making Competition

    This is for all the food enthusiasts, organise a modak making competition. Since our Ganpati Bappa has a sweet tooth and is extremely fond of modaks and mithai, this can turn out to be extremely fun for the whole family. The winner’s modak can be offered to Lord Ganesha before the other modaks. To add spice to it, modak eating competitions can also be organized which will definitely bring in lots of laughter and fun.

    Ganesh Chaturthi and mouth-watering desi special recipes are a forever bond! Here are 21 Vinayaka Chaturthi recipes for the Ganesh festival that’ll make the event even more memorable.

    5. DIY Ganpati Decorations

    The festival is right here and it’s time we decorated our homes, but since the lockdown, many people are preferring doing decorations on their own. Handmade decorations are easy to make and eco-friendly as well. Explore fun decor tips that are eye-catching and give Ganpati Bappa a warm welcome in your spruced up house! You can use fairy lights, cardboard decorations, paper flowers, decorative diyas and whatever your heart desires!

    Find here 10 DIY decor ideas to brighten your home this Ganesh Chaturthi!

    6. Painting Competition

    Organise a Ganesha painting competition and the paintings can be used in the decoration of Ganpati mandal. This will keep the whole family entertained and busy while they focus to bring out their artistic sides. And if you have someone at home who can’t paint, it might be fun to see their results! It is a good activity for kids as well and you will end up with gorgeous pieces for your DIY decorations.

    7. Virtually Connect With Distant Family Members

    Since with the lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions, travelling might not be possible, but that doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the festivities. Organise zoom or google meet calls and connect with your loved ones. You can do a combined online aarti or even keep a virtual cooking challenge and have the entire family learn a new dish online. Catch up on long conversations and enjoy each other’s company while being safe.

    8. Rangoli Making Event

    Rangolis can make your home look more beautiful, divide areas and designate them to different family members. Give them the same quantity of materials and see what they come up with (you can even make teams and compete). 

    9. Organise A Reading Session

    Ganesh Chaturthi, in all its grandeur, has an interesting history with various interesting facts revolving around the festival. There are so many different stories of Ganpati Bappa, so why not sit together and share them? This might be a good opportunity to teach your children about history and all the mythological beliefs.

    Find here 15 fun facts you need to know about Ganesh Chaturthi and vidhi timings for 2021.

    10. Indulge In Charity 

    Ganpati Bappa loved everyone, so on his birth anniversary, give food, clothes and gifts to the needy. Help everyone you can, you can put out food for birds and animals. Double your blessings with selflessness and devotion.

    Even though the festival has arrived at a time of uncertainty, it is extremely necessary that you do not let the pandemic affect the spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi. The above-mentioned ways are completely social-distance friendly and also fun! Let us know how you’re planning your festivities in the comments section below.

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