Otherwise a colourful and vibrant celebration, Durga Puja seems to have assumed a sombre form this year, because of the pandemic.
While celebrations are still taking place, there are many restrictions, which are forcing people to either stay at home or enjoy from afar. Among the many rules that are in place, social distancing and crowd management are being given utmost importance. Do not expect long queues outside food stalls, or people brushing past each other to catch a glimpse of the Goddess during the legendary sandhi puja or the morning pushpanjali.
But instead of letting it spoil your festive mood, head online to bathe in the festive gaiety. According to numerous news reports, Facebook and Instagram are believed to have launched AR filters, GIFs and hashtags for Durga Puja 2020, so that people can enjoy from the comfort and safety of their house — especially the elderly population of the country that are most vulnerable to the virus.
The features include AR filters and stickers to create fun and engaging stories, reels, and Facebook posts with specific hashtags like #DurgaPujo2020, #ShubhoMahalaya, #FBDurgaPujo, #IGDurgaPujo.
The AR effect has been named ‘Pujaparikrama‘; it will allow people to move around and enjoy the experience virtually as if they are actually in the puja pandal.
Use the following hashtags: #DurgaPujoReel, #FeelItReelIt, #PujoFeelershaateyReel, #PujoReelChallenge, #DurgaPujo2020, #ShubhoMahalaya, #FBDurgaPujo, #IGDurgaPujo and more.
Additionally, many puja committees in the country, and especially in Delhi NCR, have also gone virtual, for members to mark their attendance online. Among them is the Balaka Durgotsav in Noida Sector 61, which has come up with a designated YouTube channel and a Facebook page for its community members.
Shubhangi Mukherjee, a Delhi-based student who lives in Dwarka Sector 12, has already started attending the virtual celebrations at the Dwarka Kalibari. She tells indianexpress.com that even though there is some kind of lull and lethargy this year, it is nice that people are getting to worship Maa Durga safely at home. “The Kalibari is hosting pushpanjali live, so as members, we are attending it from home. All we had to do was go to the YouTube channel to virtually experience and take part in the puja. Even our post-puja bhog will be delivered to our doorstep by Zomato! Such a strange pujo, this one,” she says.
There are many YouTube channels out there which are streaming the celebrations for Durga Puja 2020, and you only have to do a simple Google search to access the pages.
So, will you wear masks and step out of the house to do it the traditional way, or will it be a virtual Durga Puja this year?
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