Covid-19: 'Strictly-at-home' Navratri fest begins in UAE
'We are strictly adhering to the guidelines issued by the Community Development Authority'
All is set for 10-day Navratri festival, which begins today. With safety as a priority, all celebrations will 'strictly be at home', Indian expats and community groups have said.
For several years now, colourful dandiya festivities were celebrated in across the UAE. This year, however, there will be "absolutely no festivities" at the Hindu temple in Bur Dubai and all other places that used to host huge gatherings.
Gopal Kokani, general manager of the Bur Dubai Hindu Temple, said: "We are strictly adhering to the guidelines issued by the Community Development Authority. We have 30 minutes of prayer every morning and 30 minutes in the evening."
He added: "These timings have been in effect since July 1 and our devotees are used to it now."
Social distancing is maintained at all times and regular sanitisation is carried out at the temple. "We have a steady flow of devotees, and our slowest days are Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Sundays, when around 150 people would visit us in the mornings and around 300 in the evening," said Kokani.
Large celebrations are usually organised by the Bengali community at Sindhi Ceremony Centre in Bur Dubai, however, there will be no physical celebrations this year.
In Abu Dhabi, the Indian People Forum (IPF) is celebrating 'e-Navratri Mahotsav' on October 23, and participants can also join a virtual competition. An IPF official Press note said: "A virtual decoration competition is open to all UAE residents. Details have been made available on the IPF Facebook page."
Most families have been busy organising special activities at home. Anand Sadanand, a Dubai expatriate and businessman, said: "Our Navaratri celebrations have always been at home. This year, we will do the same."
Another Indian expat, Jalpa Shah, said: "There are talks about a few virtual festivities, however, we are not planning any gatherings. We will be at home with our loved ones."
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