6 min read.Updated: 28 Mar 2021, 01:29 PM IST Edited By Sangeeta Ojha
This year Holi will be celebrated on March 29. The festival marks the arrival of the spring harvest season in the country
The coronavirus spread has surged all over again. Many state governments and Union Territories have declared a ban on the public celebration of the Holi festival. This year Holi will be celebrated on March 29. The festival marks the arrival of the spring harvest season in the country.
People celebrate the festival by binging on some lip-smacking sweets, thandai and splash coloured powder, water, and balloons while chanting "Holi Hai".
The evening before Holi is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi during which people light a bonfire to signify the burning of the demon Holika.
On Wednesday, the Centre asked states and union territories to consider imposing local restrictions in public observance of the upcoming festivals and limit or do away with mass gatherings for effective control of the pandemic.
"...in view of upcoming festivals such as Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Bihu, Easter and Eid-ul-Fitr, etc., it is strongly advised that states may consider imposing local restrictions in public observance of these festivals and limit/do away with mass gatherings in the exercise of the powers conferred under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005," Additional Secretary in the Health Ministry Arti Ahuja's letter to the states read.
Following are the states and union territories that have imposed restrictions on the public celebration of the Holi festival:
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Tuesday ordered that there will be no public celebrations in the national capital during upcoming festivals such as Holi and Navaratri."All authorities concerned will ensure that public celebrations and gatherings, congregations during upcoming festivals like Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Navaratri etc shall not be allowed in public places/public grounds/public parks/markets/religious places etc in NCT of Delhi," Chief Secretary Vijay Dev said in the order.
"For Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Navratri, no gathering allowed at public places. We appeal to the public to follow COVID-19 directives, not drink and drive, and follow traffic rules. There should not be any traffic violations including no riding without a helmet on Holi," said Meenu Chaudhary, Joint Commissioner of Police (CP), Delhi Traffic.
People should celebrate Holi in a simple manner and crowding should be avoided, the state government said on Friday. "The festival should be celebrated in a simple manner, observing social distancing norms and without coming together in any way given the increasing spread of COVID-19. Rang Panchami too should be celebrated in a simple manner," the government said in a statement.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday announced that Holi celebrations, on March 28 and 29, will not be permitted in both private or public places. The civic body in a circular announced a ban on Holi celebrations in both private and public places.
Uttar Pradesh has issued specific guidelines ahead of Holi celebrations, including no processions to be carried out without prior permission.
According to the guidelines, people above 60 years of age, children below 10 years of age and people with co-morbidities are not allowed to participate in any kind of celebration. Guests will have to undergo a COVID-19 test before entering a home ahead of Holi celebrations.
Large crowds at public places will be disallowed and police will take appropriate steps regarding the matter.
The Gujarat government on Wednesday issued a notification banning the public celebration of Holi and said the ritual of "Holika Dahan" can be observed in small gatherings. As per the notification issued by the home department, public celebrations and mass functions cannot be allowed on the day of Dhuleti on March 29 due to the prevailing pandemic.
The state government of Bihar has issued an order asking people not to congregate at public places on the day of the Holi festival. The order issued by the Home department also said that the "minimum number" of people will be allowed to gather at one place during Holika Dahan, the ritual performed on the eve of the Holi festival and Shab-e-Barat.
It said that people should maintain COVID-19 protocol such as wearing a face mask, maintaining social distancing, using hand sanitiser while participating during Holika Dahan and Shab-e-Barat.
People will not be permitted to gather at public places or organise any events and activities on the day of the Holi festival, it said.
The Telangana government has decided not to allow public celebrations in the state during the coming religious events, till April 30, to prevent the spread of Covid-19, besides making it mandatory to wear face masks in public places.
Noting that congregations pose a considerable threat of rapid transmission of COVID-19, the order said it is decided that public celebrations/observances should not be allowed in the state during upcoming religious events such as Shab-e-Barat, Holi, Ugadi (Telugu New Year), Rama Navami, Mahavir Jayanti, Good Friday, Ramzan and others till April 30.
Days after banning public functions on the occasion of Holi and Shab-e-Barat, the Rajasthan government has relaxed the ban and allowed holding them. The government, however, restricted the timing of holding public functions only between 4 pm and 10 pm on March 28 and 29. The state government’s Home Department relaxed the ban on public functions through a revised notification on Friday. The government earlier on March 24 had ordered that no public function would be held on the two festivals due to the rising coronavirus cases. In its new notification, the government, however, said no more than 50 people would be allowed to participate in these functions.
Ahead of festivals, the Jharkhand government has issued guidelines and prohibits celebrations of Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Navratri, Ramnavami, and Easter at public places to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
In a letter, the Chief Secretary of the state Sukhdev Singh on Friday said: "All celebrations and congregations at public places during festivals like Holi, Sarhul, Shab-e-Barat, Navratri, Ramnavami, Easter etc shall not be allowed in the state. People may celebrate Holi with family members in their respective houses only."
The order also banned all kinds of processions, including those on Sahul and Ramnavmi across the state.
The Karnataka government on Thursday issued an order not allowing public celebrations, gatherings or congregations during the coming festivals like Ugadi, Holi, Shab-e-Barat and Good Friday following a spike in COVID-19 cases.
In an order, Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar, who is also the State Disaster Management Authority's State Executive Committee Chairperson has directed authorities concerned to ensure that public gatherings and congregations during the upcoming religious festivals not be allowed in public places, including parks, markets and religious places.
The Meghalaya government on Thursday issued a new Standard operating procedure (SOP) for Holi celebrations amid the recent spike in COVID-19 cases wherein it banned public celebrations of the festival.
"SOP for Holi celebrations issued by the Home (Political) Department, Government of Meghalaya. 25th March 2021," the Department of Information and Public Relations of the state tweeted.
"Public celebrations and gatherings/congregations are not permitted in public places/ public grounds/public parks/markets/religious places. Playing with colours should be restricted to family members only and within people's homes. Playing of colours and/or congregations shall not be allowed on the public road or roadside and there shall be no obstruction on any path/roads/thoroughfare. In case of private celebrations, the number of persons inside the venue/private premises shall be restricted in accordance with the order issued by Home (Political) Department dated February 2, wherein the maximum number of persons in any private gathering is restricted to 75 per cent of the seating capacity," the order continued to read.
The Haryana government on Wednesday banned public celebrations of the upcoming Holi festival in the wake of the rise in the number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks. During the past few days, Haryana has been reporting over 800 new cases daily.
"The Haryana government has banned public celebrations of Holi in view of (rise in the number of cases of) corona..," Home and Health Minister Anil Vij said in a tweet.
-With agency inputs
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