With nothing much to do, homes turned into pious retreats for all the communities that celebrated new year on Tuesday. Most said that with limited means and a lot of time on hands, they could offer prayers and prasad in the soulful manner.
Alongside Bengalis, Tamilians, Malayalis and the Assamese celebrated their new year. Punjabis had their Baisakhi on Monday and Oriyas, their Pana Sankranti.
Most woke up early in the morning, bathed and got ready for the puja. Interestingly, while in the other years, they would visit temples to offer flowers and fruits, after paying a cursory obeisance to the family deity, this year the focus was on the home altar. So, even in the lockdown, people gave their best shot at getting the best fruit and flowers for offering.
“You cannot have a new year celebration, without an array of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The reason for offering these to the family deity is that, the new year of Puthandu, for Tamilians is basically a harvest festival and the offerings symbolize a good harvest and familial gratitude,” explained Bharti Sundaram.
The Assamese celebrated their Bihu by having the customary curd, flattened rice and sweets. A few people went to Assam Bhavan on Russell Street to hoist the Bihu flag, which is believed to be a good omen, explained Deben Dewang, spokesperson of the 150-year-old Assam Socio Literary Club, that has been organizing the flag hoisting every year.
Oriyas found it difficult to lay their hands on bel or wood apple this time. It is a must for their Pana Sankranti or Vishuva Sankranti. “The Bel pana is a must, but these are difficult times. HowḤever, lunch was strictly an Oriya traditional thali with white rice, ghee, dalma, potatoes, drumsticks, home-made dahi, chutney and payesh,” said entrepreneur Bijay Lynka.
There are at least 3 lakh Punjabis domiciled in the city for whom Baisakhi this year is a muted, stay-at-home affair. For the Sikhs, Baisakhi is observed as Sajana Diwas, when the Khalsa Panth was formed. This year, even visiting gurdwaras is not an option. Most people are praying at home, cooking traditional dishes and sharing these as best as they can. Some people have grouped together to cook at langars so that this food can be distributed among the underprivileged, said Satnam Ahluwalia, who is leading one such group at the Behala Gurudwara.
Source: Times of India