Covid is refusing to go. If anything , it’s intensity and coverage are going up with number of infected persons and mortality rate both continuing to rise.
It all started around Holi- I distinctly remember as our society had cancelled annual holi celebration as advisory for social distancing was already doing rounds. How there was Janta curfew and total lockdown and mass infections at Dharavi etc are now part of oft discussed and written about facts.
Navratris, Easter and Eid Al Fitr were celebrated under complete lockdown situations. Already, Lal Baug cha Raja is going to write history by not making an appearance this Ganpati breaking a non stop tradition of 80 years. While there are some claims by pharma companies of having found some cure, vaccine still seems some distance away in spite of its testing being fast tracked. God knows whether Janmashtami, Dahi Handi, Navratri, Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali and Christmas will be celebrated with traditional gaiety or will the current pandemic conditions continue to put a spanner in all our festivals.
Currently affected festivals are Eid al Adha being celebrated today and Rakshabandhan to be celebrated on 3rd August. While Eid is a community festival celebrated by offering prayer, feasting on that which has been sacrificed and partaking of the feast with the needy and providing them with alms, Rakshabandhan is a family festival, where all family members assemble to celebrate delicate and sensitive emotion of affection between brother and sister.
Muslim brethren all over have celebrated Eid today with sobriety and restrain in view of the current pandemic. Many opted by donating money for online qurbani to avoid physical congregation in these pandemic times.
Rakshabandhan is also going to be celebrated in a similar fashion with sisters tying virtual Rakhis on the wrists of their brothers through video calling,
Lesson here is that spirit of festivals is more important than rituals observed while celebrating them. Eid teaches us the importance of sacrifice and charity, while rakhi is a festival of trust and affection. Current Covid pandemic is indeed teaching us so many new ways of life, which we probably knew in our subconscious but were too busy with the worldly pleasures to let them be manifested.
Happy Eid and Rakshabandhan. Let’s stay safe and defeat the pandemic. Festivals are part of our milieu and will come again for us to celebrate them with traditional gaiety but without forgetting the learning from Covid.